Tries by Duan Thomas (3), Darren Hughes (2), Owain Leonard, Geraint Walsh, Pat Lewis, Scott Matthews, Cameron Regan, Sam Scarfe and a penalty try.
Conversions by Matthew Jarvis (10).
Penalty by Wills Woods.
Pooler’s positive response in Tata romp
After the huge disappointment in terms of the result and performance at Neath last time out, Pontypool needed to respond positively as they welcomed Tata Steel to Pontypool Park on a cold and damp afternoon for a Championship match, writes Ray Ruddick. This was a performance of quality as the home forwards proved too powerful for the Tata eight while Pooler backs look slick with some neat touches as Pontypool registered twelve tries.
Pontypool kicked off attacking the bandstand end of the ground. It only took 40 seconds for Pooler to open the scoring as they gained possession from the kick-off. The ball went through several pairs of hands and scrum half Owain Leonard scored a try near the posts. Outside half Matthew Jarvis slotted the easy conversion (7-0). In the 11th minute full back Geraint Walsh made a jinking run which took play deep into Tata’s 22. The ball was recycled and hooker Darren Hughes dived over for a try, 10 metres from the left corner, with Matthew Jarvis adding the extras (14-0). Then three minutes later Pooler were penalised for not rolling away at a ruck in midfield, 35 metres from their goal line and visiting full back Wills Woods was successful with his attempt at goal (14-3).
In the 17th minute Pooler replied with a try in the left corner by right wing Duan Thomas following a good build up with forwards and backs combining well after changing direction of attack. The conversion attempt went wide (19-3). Five minutes before the interval Geraint Walsh fielded a clearance kick just outside the visitors’ 22 on Pooler’s right. He went on a run, dodging several defenders to score Pooler’s bonus-point try 15 metres in from the right corner. Matthew Jarvis slotted the conversion. Half time score – Pontypool 26 Tata Steel 3.
In the second minute of the second period Pooler’s forwards produced a powerful drive at a scrum on Pooler’s left. The ball was released and reached centre Joel Mahoney who made a break and passed to his fellow centre Pat Lewis who was on hand in support to touch down near the posts. Once again, Matthew Jarvis added a further two points (33-3). In the 46th minute Pontypool had a lineout near the Tata goal line and following a well-controlled drive, hooker Darren Hughes got his second try of the afternoon 15 metres in from the left corner. Matthew Jarvis kicked his sixth conversion from seven attempts (40-3).
In the 48th minute Garin Price replaced second row Ashley Sweet and three minutes later Sam Scarfe replaced Darren Hughes in the middle of the Pooler front row. In the 54th minute centre Joel Mahoney made a break inside Tata’s 22 and offloaded to captain and flanker Scott Matthews who scored 15 metres in from the right corner. Matthew Jarvis converted (47-3). On the hour mark, the home side made a triple change with Geraint Walsh, Owain Leonard and loose head prop Sam Cochrane making way for Kieran Meek, Mike Hale and Corey Hewlett respectively.
Two minutes later Pooler were on the attack again and had a solid scrum in midfield, 10 metres from the visitors’ goal line. Number eight Cameron Regan picked up from the base and charged over for a try 10 metres from the right corner. Matthew Jarvis was again successful with the conversion, with the help of the left upright (54-3). Thirteen minutes from time right wing Duan Thomas finished off a smart move after a neat loop in midfield with a try in the right corner. Matthew Jarvis kicked a great conversion from wide out (61-3). Four minutes later Tata’s scrum was under some pressure near their line and referee Simon Mills had no hesitation in going between the posts and awarded the home side a penalty try (68-3).
In the 73rd minute Darren Hughes returned to the field in place of flanker Adam Stratton who had taken a knock. With four minutes remaining, Pooler had a scrum in midfield on Tata’s 22, the ball went right and a lovely long pass by Matthew Jarvis put Duan Thomas over for his try hat-trick. Matthew Jarvis again added the conversion (75-3). Then in the 80th minute Pooler were on the offensive and replacement Sam Scarfe powered his way over for a try near the left corner to make it a round dozen for Pontypool. Matthew Jarvis kicked his tenth conversion out of eleven attempts – a very accomplished performance from the tee. He also had a good game at outside half, getting his impressive and dangerous backs moving.
Pontypool played with a positive attitude and intent, and created some good tries. Forwards and backs contributed to an open game as Tata Steel felt the full force of the backlash. Next Saturday Pontypool will be on their travels, to Ynysydarren Ground, to take on Ystalyfera, kick-off 2.30pm. The next home game will be on Saturday 18 December when Beddau will be the visitors to Pontypool Park, kick-off again 2.30pm.
Pontypool: Geraint Walsh (replaced by Kieran Meek), Duan Thomas, Pat Lewis, Joel Mahoney, Amosa Nove, Matthew Jarvis, Owain Leonard (replaced by Mike Hale), Sam Cochrane (replaced by Corey Hewlett), Darren Hughes (replaced by Sam Scarfe), Scott Evans, Adam Brown, Ashley Sweet (replaced by Garin Price), Scott Matthews (captain), Adam Stratton (replaced by the returning Darren Hughes) and Cameron Regan.
Tata Steel: Wills Woods, Morgan Williams, Kian Monaghan, Hedd Nicholas, Laurence Headlam, Luke Griffiths, Efan Ellis, Iestyn Jones, Jae Keys, Nat Whitton, Joe Evans, Chris Gorvett, Osian Phillips (captain), Jordan Coxley and Huw Thomas. Replacements: Richard Davies, Steve John, James Varden, Dafydd Watkins and Cam Bamford.