Tries: Kieron Meek (1), Rhys Humphries (1)
Conversions: Kieron Meek (2)
Penalties: Kieron Meek (1)
Tries: Jordan Williams (2), Sam Mills (1)
Conversions: Tom Hancock (2)
Penalties: Tom Hancock (2)
Pooler were good value for their victory at Newbridge despite their hosts fighting back from 25-3 down with around five minutes to go. This was a tough test for Pontypool as Newbridge had won their opening two games of the league campaign while Pooler had won one and lost one.
Pontypool kicked off attacking the school end of the ground. Within a minute, Pontypool won a penalty for not supporting own bodyweight inside the Newbridge 22 in front of the posts and outside half Tom Hancock slotted the easy kick (3-0). About five minutes later, Newbridge were guilty of holding on, 30 metres from their line in front of the sticks and Tom Hancock doubled the visitors’ lead with a successful shot at goal (6-0). Midway through the first half, Pooler second row Derryn Jones was sin-binned for entering a ruck from an offside position, just outside Pooler’s 22 to the right of the posts and home full back Kieron Meek kicked the resulting penalty goal (6-3). Shortly after, Pooler’s young centre Ben Madgwick took a knock to the ankle and was stretchered off and was replaced by Sam Mills.
After a mix-up at a Newbridge lineout 5 metres from their goal line, Pooler debutant and No 8 Chris Williams gathered the ball and drove over for the opening try of the afternoon, converted by Tom Hancock (13-3). Pooler went back on the attack and Rob Nash picked up from a scrum deep inside Newbridge’s 22 and did well to offload to Sam Mills who saw a gap and scored near the posts. Tom Hancock converted (20-3). Visiting flanker Gareth Rusby-Davies took a knock and was replaced by another Pooler debutant Tom Bell. Half time score – Newbridge 3 Pontypool 20.
About six minutes into the second period, Pooler were penalised for not rolling away at a ruck in midfield on the half way line and was marched back 10 metres for not retreating but the attempt at goal went wide. Alun Wyn Davies replaced Jamie Edwards at loose head prop for Pontypool. Pooler’s powerful scrum in the home 22 resulted in a penalty to them for the Newbridge front row dropping and home loose head prop Jack Williams was yellow carded. After 12 minutes play in the second half, Newbridge outside half Scott Williams and Pooler tight head prop Garin Harris initially grabbed each other’s jersey and then blows were exchanged and young referee Aled Evans showed the red card to both players. As a result of the sending off of Harris, Jamie Edwards returned on the tight head and left wing Nathan Brooks was sacrificed.
Pontypool applied pressure near the Newbridge line with powerful scrums and Chris Williams barged over for his second try of the game. The conversion failed (25-3). Pooler’s captain and hooker Ben Parry then made way for Jamie Jeune. However, back came a spirited Newbridge side with two tries in the last five minutes. First was a try by Kieron Meek who converted his own touch down (25-10). Josh Hurley came on for young centre Matthew Roberts for the visitors. Newbridge took a quick tap free kick on Pooler’s 10 metre line and scored in the right corner through centre Rhys Humphries, converted by Kieron Meek. Time had run out for Newbridge and Pooler held on to deservedly win this local derby. Final score – Newbridge 17 Pontypool 25.
It was a good all round performance by Pontypool with a dominant scrum which set the platform for the win. Rob Nash, who was returning from injury, was outstanding and full back Clayton Gullis had a very good game making try-saving tackles. This result must give Pontypool confidence for the visit of last season’s champions Bargoed to Pontypool Park next Saturday (kick-off 2.30pm).
Pontypool: Clayton Gullis, Kristian Baller, Matthew Roberts (replaced by Josh Hurley), Ben Madgwick (replaced by Sam Mills), Nathan Brooks (replaced by the returning Jamie Edwards), Tom Hancock, Aaron Quick, Jamie Edwards (replaced by Alun Wyn Davies), Ben Parry (captain) (replaced by Jamie Jeune), Garin Harris, Matthew Thomas, Derryn Jones, Gareth Rusby-Davies (replaced by Tom Bell), Rob Nash, Chris Williams.
by Ray Ruddick
|16||Alan Wyn Davies|