The club's 18-16 victory over Narberth last weekend was pleasing on a number of levels. The West Wales side have always been one of our toughest opponents in the WRU National Championship, especially at the Lewis Lloyd Ground and Saturday was no different.
You only had to look at the club's previous two visits to The Otters to get an idea of the battles we usually have with them away from Pontypool Park. Since the start of ring-fencing, our trips west had yielded two victories, but with an accumulative winning margin of just 12 points.
That is why, when I see some comments that suggest our narrow victory on Saturday was down to the fact that we hadn't played for a month, those previous encounters are something I like to refer back to. We were pleased as a squad to come away with four points and it was also pleasing on a personal level that our fitness levels didn't become an issue during the encounter.
I have been happy with the fitness of the squad throughout the season and Saturday was no different. Having a four-week block without a game did present its challenges, but its something I relished in my role as Head of Performance.
During our month off, we increased the conditioning component of our training sessions, ensuring the boys fitness levels were maintained. In a style you would see at the training grounds of professional sides up and down the country, our training is structured in a way that mimics match day scenarios with high-intensity sessions.
I definitely view the period the players had away from the field as beneficial. It allowed players to rest their bumps and niggles and just as importantly, it allowed the boys the chance to refresh mentally. It is no secret that this season is a big one for the club and the unintended break could well pay huge dividends come the business end of the campaign.
Our next fixture will see us travel to Pandy Park to take on Cross Keys in the WRU National Cup. In terms of our preparations for the game, nothing really changes to be honest. Whether it's a pre-season friendly, a league match or a game in the cup, our primary focus is always on us and how we can best prepare collectively and as individuals.
We see each game as an opportunity to improve on our previous performance and that doesn't change when we come up against Premiership opposition. The cup holds a lot of happy memories for the club and we will travel to Cross Keys on Saturday eager to do ourselves justice.
Be it independently or with the club, it is great to hear that so many Pooler supporters plan to travel to and attend the game on Saturday. We are extremely fortunate to enjoy the support of such a loyal band of supporters and their support means a lot to the boys.
Earlier this week, it was great to see footage of the atmosphere at the Arms Park after the club beat Cardiff in the National Cup in 2017. The atmosphere the travelling Pooler fans created during and after the game that night is something I will always remember. If something similar could be recreated on Saturday, I know it would inspire the boys.
Rhys Dyer was speaking to Andrew Deering.
Pontypool RFC is to provide free coach transportation for supporters attending its WRU National Cup second round tie versus Cross Keys RFC. Anyone wishing to reserve a space are asked to email secretary, Jamie Hallam (firstname.lastname@example.org).