Tries by Marcus Jones, Lewis Ball, Jordan Thomas, Owain Leonard and a penalty try.
Conversion by Matthew Lewis.
Pooler enjoy cup success in tough encounter at Brynmawr
Pontypool took a break from the Specsavers WRU National Championship on Saturday when they travel ‘north’ to Recreation Ground, Brynmawr for a Ben Francis Cup tie, writes Ray Ruddick.It was an earlier than normal kick-off (12.30pm) due to the Wales v Barbarians clash at the Principality Stadium later in the afternoon.
The only previous occasion Pontypool entered the Ben Francis Cup, which was in the 2007-08 season, they won it - defeating Caldicot 67-5 (away), Nantyglo 17-7 (at Talywain) in the semi-final and a 41-22 success over Abergavenny in the final at Blackwood. This was the season when Pontypool were the Division One East champions.
Pontypool and Brynmawr met regularly, including in the old Monmouthshire League, before the First World War and twice between the wars, in 1925 and 1935 but not since.
Pontypool kicked off attacking the terrace end of the ground on a very cold but fine day.In the 11th minute a powerful driving maul by the Pooler pack from a lineout on Mawr’s 22 took play close to the home line on Pooler’s left.The ball went right and wing Marcus Jones managed to squeeze in the corner for the opening score of the game.The conversion failed (5-0).Then in the 36th minute the visitors were putting pressure on the home defence deep in the Brynmawr 22.From a lineout close to the goal line, the Pontypool forwards drove their opponents back and hooker Lewis Ball scored an unconverted try 10 metres in from the left corner (10-0).Three minutes later Pooler no 8 Gareth Rusby-Davies was replaced by Curtis Gregory.There was no further scoring in a very tight first half.Half time score – Brynmawr 0 Pontypool 10.
Craig Price took over at tight head prop from Scott Evans for Pontypool at the start of the second period.Then ten minutes after the break Pooler scrum half Martin Luckwell was replaced by Owain Leonard and five minutes later Darren Hughes, a hooker, went on for wing Marcus Jones.Jordan Thomas, originally selected at flanker went to his normal wing position, Lewis Ball went into the back row and Hughes slotted into the middle of the front row.In the 64th minute centre Duan Thomas made way for Joel Mahoney and on 70 minutes second row Danny Hodge was replaced by Ieuan Jones who went into the back row and Curtis Gregory moved up to the second row.
In the 72nd minute play was in Brynmawr’s 22.The ball went right and Jordan Thomas, now out on the left, came off his wing, breached the home defence to score a try, 15 metres in from the right corner.Outside half Matthew Lewis added the extras (17-0).
Going into injury time Pooler loose head prop Zenon Szwagrzak took a knock and had to leave the field but there was no fit front row forwards left so the scrums went uncontested and Szwagrzak was not replaced.In the 82nd minute Pooler were on the offensive inside Mawr’s half.The ball reached Jordan Thomas on the left near the home 22.He put in a grubber kick and Owain Leonard won the race to the touchdown near the left corner.The conversion was missed (22-0).In the seventh minute of injury time and, with the final move of the game, Pooler were on the attack inside Brynmawr’s 22 and the ball went right.A home defender deliberately knocked on with Pooler players outside and the referee had no hesitation in awarding the visitors a penalty try.Final score – Brynmawr 0 Pontypool 29.
Brynmawr played well and this was a tough test for Pontypool who gave game time to most of the fringe players who have had limited chances in the league and WRU Cup.Next Saturday Pooler will be back in league action when they take on Glamorgan Wanderers at the Memorial Ground in Ely. The kick-off will be the usual 2.30pm.
Pontypool: Jake Morgan, Marcus Jones (replaced by Darren Hughes), Duan Thomas (replaced by Joel Mahoney), Clayton Gullis, Rhodri Usher, Matthew Lewis, Martin Luckwell (replaced by Owain Leonard), Zenon Szwagrzak, Lewis Ball, Scott Evans (replaced by Craig Price), Danny Hodge (replaced by Ieuan Jones), Luke Fleming-Jones, Mike Herbert (captain), Jordan Thomas and Gareth Rusby-Davies (replaced by Curtis Gregory).