Try by Aron Clarke.
Tries by Joel Mahoney (2), Garin Price, Mike Herbert, Pat Lewis, Mike Hale, Adam Stratton and Lloyd Lewis.
Conversions by Matthew Jarvis (4) and Ethan Davies (4).
Pooler impress in the Rhondda sunshine
Pontypool travelled to the Rhondda Valley on Saturday to take on Ystrad Rhondda at Gelligaled Park in a WRU National Championship match and came away with an impressive victory against tough opponents, writes Ray Ruddick.
Ystrad Rhondda kicked off attacking the railway end of the ground on a glorious sunny afternoon. It was Pooler that enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges and in the third minute, after putting the home defence under pressure, second row Garin Price barged over for a try to the right of the posts. Outside half Matthew Jarvis converted to put the visitors into an early lead (7-0). In the 17th minute Ystrad were penalised at a scrum inside their 22. Pooler took a quick tap penalty and flanker Mike Herbert powered over for a try near the right corner. Matthew Jarvis slotted a fine conversion from wide out (14-0).
Just before the half hour mark, Pontypool were on the attack inside the home 22 on their left. The ball went right and centre Pat Lewis crossed for a try 15 metres in from the right corner. Matthew Jarvis added the extras (21-0). Shortly after scrum half Owain Leonard was replaced by Mike Hale. In the 40th minute Garin Price was shown the yellow card for throwing the ball into a player’s face. However, 14-man Pooler finished the half on a high. In the second minute of injury time, play was near the half way line and a wayward pass by the home side was gathered by Mike Hale. He did remarkably well in keeping himself in the field of play and sprinted 40 metres along the touchline to score Pooler’s bonus-point try in the left corner. This score was superbly converted by Matthew Jarvis. Half time score – Ystrad Rhondda 0 Pontypool 28.
The second half didn’t start well for Ystrad as in the 46th minute they had their captain and second row Nathan Hughes sin binned for retaliation on the ground. However, a minute later they scored their only try of the game through winger Aron Clarke wide out on their left. The conversion went wide (28-5). In the 52nd minute Pooler made a couple of changes with Kieran Meek taking over from Matthew Jarvis and No 8 Ieuan Jones was replaced by Cameron Regan. Five minutes later Mike Herbert made the initial break in midfield then centre Joel Mahoney stepped inside and off-loaded to the supporting Adam Stratton for the flanker to cross for a try near the posts. Full back Ethan Davies kicked the conversion (35-5). Pooler hooker Darren Hughes was then replaced by Sam Scarfe.
In the 64th minute some good off the top ball by Pooler second row Curtis Gregory at a lineout near Ystrad’s 22 on Pontypool’s right put them on the front foot. The ball went left across the back line and right wing Lloyd Lewis joined the action. He took a pass at pace 30 metres out and his natural speed took him over for a try near the posts. Ethan Davies converted (42-5). Then visiting loose head prop Sam Cochrane was replaced by young Dragons Academy player Dylan Kelleher-Griffiths.
With 13 minutes left Pontypool were again on the attack and, after several phases, Joel Mahoney took the ball at pace and crossed for a try under the posts which Ethan Davies improved (49-5). Late in the game Ieuan Jones returned to the field in place of Mike Herbert who had taken a knock. With the final move of the match, the impressive Joel Mahoney took a pass on the burst and at an angle, inside his own half, outpaced the defence and sprinted fully 55 metres to score Pooler’s eighth and final try to the right of the posts. Ethan Davies landed his fourth conversion of the afternoon to round off a satisfying team display. Final score – Ystrad Rhondda 5 Pontypool 56.
It was a very good performance by Pontypool but Ystrad Rhondda never gave up and made Pooler work throughout the game. Next up for Pontypool is a trip to Bargoed Park next Saturday in what promises to be a close and exciting encounter between arguably the two best sides in the Championship, kick-off 2.30pm. Pooler’s next home game will be on Saturday 9 April when Bedwas will be the welcome visitors to Pontypool Park, kick-off also 2.30pm.
Pontypool: Ethan Davies, Lloyd Lewis, Pat Lewis, Joel Mahoney, Amosa Nove, Matthew Jarvis (replaced by Kieran Meek), Owain Leonard (replaced by Mike Hale), Sam Cochrane (replaced by Dylan Kelleher-Griffiths), Darren Hughes (captain, replaced by Sam Scarfe), Scott Evans, Garin Price, Curtis Gregory, Mike Herbert (replaced by Ieuan Jones), Adam Stratton and Ieuan Jones (replaced by Cameron Regan).