Tries by Owain Leonard (3), Jordan Thomas (2), Ben Sparks, Danny Hodge, Lloyd Lewis, Joel Mahoney and Darren Hughes.
Conversions by Kieran Meek (8).
Tries by Morgan Nelson, Liam Malkin and Oliver Morris.
Conversions by Bradley Evans (2) and James Mattin.
Pooler continue to rack up points in comfortable cup victory over Cardiff Met
League rugby took a back seat on Saturday when Pontypool welcomed the students of Cardiff Metropolitan University to Pontypool Park for a second round tie in the Specsavers WRU National Cup, writes Ray Ruddick. The two clubs had met twice before in the competition, and on both occasions Pooler were successful, including a third round match in January 1983 when Pontypool went on to win the WRU Cup for the first, and so far, only time. The students of 2019 were no match for Pontypool as the home side had put the game out of Met’s reach by half time, racking up a point a minute. This was Pontypool’s sixth consecutive game of having scored 50 points or over – quite a remarkable run of consistency.
Pontypool kicked off attacking the bandstand end of the ground on a cold and wet afternoon. In the fourth minute Pooler were on the attack and a lovely chip and gather by home centre Kieran Meek took play into Met’s 22. The ball went left and wing Jordan Thomas managed to squeeze in the corner for the opening score. The difficult conversion was narrowly missed (5-0). Nine minutes later Pontypool’s scrum half Martin Luckwell took a knock and was replaced by Owain Leonard. In the 17th minute Pooler’s right wing Lloyd Lewis was yellow carded for a deliberate knock-on inside the home 22. A minute later Cardiff Met scored a try through hooker Morgan Nelson to the left of the posts, converted by outside half James Mattin (5-7).
Midway through the first half, Cardiff Met were in possession between their 22 and 10-metre line but a pass was intercepted by Pooler’s No 8 Ben Sparks who galloped 30 metres to score a try under the posts. Kieran Meek added the extras (12-7). In the 22nd minute there was another interception – the students were in possession near their 10-metre line when Jordan Thomas intercepted and sprinted 40 metres to score to the left of the posts and bag his second try of the afternoon. Kieran Meek converted (19-7). In the 34th minute Met’s flanker Charles Geary was sin binned for collapsing a driving maul near the students’ line. A minute later and after several attempts at driving over, home second row Danny Hodge managed to cross the whitewash for a try to the right of the posts. Once again, Kieran Meek slotted the conversion (26-7).
In the 38th minute Pooler struck again when Lloyd Lewis crossed in the right corner for another 5-pointer and this score was superbly converted by Kieran Meek (33-7). Then in the second minute of injury time at the end of the first period, a lovely chip and gather by outside half Richard Powell just outside Met’s 22 made the scoring pass to half back partner Owain Leonard who touched down under the sticks. Kieran Meek converted. Half time – Pontypool 40 Cardiff Metropolitan University 7.
In the second minute of the second half a great steal in a tackle by outstanding Pooler flanker Adam Stratton on the visitors’ 22 led to a second try by Owain Leonard who scored under the posts. Again Kieran Meek added the two points (47-7). Home blind side flanker Brendan Lampitt took a heavy hit and was replaced by Ieuan Jones. In the 48th minute a half break by Richard Powell on Pooler’s left put in full back Joel Mahoney for a try in the corner. Kieran Meek slotted a fine conversion (54-7). That was Powell’s last action as he was then replaced by Matthew Lewis. Four minutes later Pooler made further changes with Aaron Coundley taking over from Sam Cochrane at loose head prop, Zenon Szwagrzak came on for tight head prop Craig Price and centre Amosa Nove made way for Marcus Jones. There were some positional switches in Pooler’s back line with Joel Mahoney going to centre, Jordan Thomas to full back and Marcus Jones went on the left wing.
Then just before the hour mark, Cardiff Met scored a try, 10 metres in from the left corner through replacement Liam Malkin following a forward drive. This score was converted by replacement Bradley Evans (54-14). In the 64th minute Pooler’s second row Rhys Clarke was replaced by Curtis Gregory and six minutes later Lewis Ball took over from Adam Stratton in the back row. In the 73rd minute Lloyd Lewis made a break inside his half and popped a pass to Lewis Ball on Met’s 10-metre line. Then the replacement back rower, normally a hooker, offloaded to the supporting Owain Leonard who sprinted 40 metres to score his try hat trick in the right corner. The conversion failed (59-14). In the first minute of injury time a simple but effective move at a lineout close to the visitors’ line resulted in a try in the left corner by captain-for-the-day Darren Hughes, converted by Kieran Meek with a splendid kick – his eighth success in ten attempts (66-14). Cardiff Met immediately replied with the final move of thoroughly an entertaining game, and scored their third try when replacement Oliver Morris dotted down and Bradley Evans converted. Final score – Pontypool 66 Cardiff Metropolitan University 21.
So Pontypool eased through to the quarter finals where they are joined by Aberavon, Cardiff, Carmarthen Quins, Llandovery, Llanelli, Merthyr and Neath. Next Saturday Pooler face the same opponents, but this time in the Specsavers WRU National Championship as they travel to Cyncoed. Then the following Saturday (23 November), Pontypool host Maesteg Harlequins – kick-off for both games will be at 2.30pm.
Pontypool: Joel Mahoney, Lloyd Lewis, Amosa Nove (replaced by Marcus Jones), Kieran Meek, Jordan Thomas, Richard Powell (replaced by Matthew Lewis), Martin Luckwell (replaced by Owain Leonard), Sam Cochrane (replaced by Aaron Coundley), Darren Hughes (captain), Craig Price (replaced by Zenon Szwagrzak), Danny Hodge, Rhys Clarke (replaced by Curtis Gregory), Brendan Lampitt (replaced by Ieuan Jones), Adam Stratton (replaced by Lewis Ball) and Ben Sparks.