Tries by Garin Price (2), Adam Stratton and Cameron Regan.
Conversions by Matthew Jarvis (4).
Penalties by Matthew Jarvis (2).
Drop Goal by Kieran Meek.
Penalty by Matt Bancroft.
Positive response as Pooler secure bonus-point victory over Bedwas
After the disappointing result and performance at Bargoed the previous Saturday, the question was how Pontypool would respond in their difficult home game against second-placed Bedwas in the WRU Admiral National Championship at Pontypool Park, writes Ray Ruddick. The answer was very emphatic as Pooler dominated the second period after an evenly matched first half with not much to choose between the two sides, and they scored a late and deserved bonus-point try.
Bedwas kicked off attacking the scoreboard end of the ground on a fine, dry and pleasant afternoon. The visitors started the stronger and tested Pooler but the home defence held firm and kept their opponents at bay. Then after a quarter of an hour’s play, Bedwas were penalised for not rolling away at a ruck on their 10-metre line in midfield and home outside half Matthew Jarvis kicked the shot at goal (3-0). Pooler full back Ethan Davies took a knock and was replaced by Kieran Meek.
On the half hour mark, Pooler were caught offside 15 metres in from touch, 45 metres from the home goal line on Bedwas’ left. Outside half Matt Bancroft brought the scores level with a sweetly struck penalty (3-3). Four minutes later Pooler were on the attack and asked questions of the Bedwas defence. After several forward drives second row Garin Price powered over for a try under the posts. Matthew Jarvis added the easy conversion (10-3). Towards the end of the first period, the visitors were applying pressure inside Pooler’s 22 but the home defence were equal to the challenge and refused to let Bedwas in. In the eighth minute of injury time Pontypool were guilty of holding on, 15 metres in from touch near the Pooler 10-metre line on Bedwas’ right but the attempt at goal went to the left of the target. Half time score – Pontypool 10 Bedwas 3.
At the start of the second period, Pontypool’s tight head prop Peter Lloyd, who was making his long-awaited debut for the club, was replaced by Craig Price. In the first minute of the restart, Pooler were on the attack and Bedwas were penalised for a high tackle, 10 metres in from Pooler’s right touchline on Bedwas’ 22 and Matthew Jarvis extended his side’s advantage to ten points with a successful kick at goal (13-3). In the 45th minute Pontypool were on the attack inside the visitors’ 22 and, after several forward drives, busy flanker Adam Stratton barged his way over for a try to the left of the posts and Matthew Jarvis added the extras (20-3). Four minutes later Kieran Meek dropped a lovely goal from near Bedwas’ 10-metre line in midfield (23-3). In the 56th minute Aaron Quick was replaced by Mike Hale at scrum half for the home side.
Pontypool were now playing with some confidence and on the hour, Pooler launched a determined attack. Craig Price made a break near the visitors’ 22 and offloaded to the supporting Garin Price who found space and touched down near the posts for his second of the afternoon. Matthew Jarvis added two more points from the tee (30-3). Then the home side made their final two changes with Adam Stratton making way for Mike Herbert and Lewis Ball replaced Sam Scarfe at hooker.
The last quarter seemed to be heading for stalemate with no score forthcoming. However, Pooler stuck to the task in hand and, in the third minute of injury time, left wing Amosa Nove made a break near the half way line. The ball was recycled and Kieran Meek's a long pass out to Nove took play deep into Bedwas’ 22. The winger offloaded to Cameron Regan for the number eight to score Pontypool’s fourth and very late, but welcomed, bonus-point try to the left of the uprights. Matthew Jarvis rounded off a great afternoon with his kicking from the tee with another conversion – his sixth place kick of the match. Final score – Pontypool 37 Bedwas 3.
This was a much better showing by Pontypool, full of endeavour, intent and purpose against a good Bedwas side. Pontypool’s super second half display was impressive and hopefully, they can take this form into next Saturday’s local derby clash with Cross Keys at Pandy Park. Then, the following two Saturdays, Pooler will again be on the road. On 23 April they visit Ynysydarren Ground to face Ystalyfera and then on 30 April Pooler take on the students of Cardiff Metropolitan University at Cyncoed Campus. All matches kick-off at 2.30pm.
Pontypool: Ethan Davies (replaced by Kieran Meek), Marcus Jones, Pat Lewis, Joel Mahoney, Amosa Nove, Matthew Jarvis, Aaron Quick (replaced by Mike Hale), Sam Cochrane, Sam Scarfe (replaced by Lewis Ball), Peter Lloyd (replaced by Craig Price), Garin Price, Ashley Sweet, Scott Matthews (captain), Adam Stratton (replaced by Mike Herbert) and Cameron Regan.
Bedwas: Hamish Anderson (replaced by Sam Davies), Aaron Billingham, Dafydd Thomas (replaced by Dion McIntosh), Lewis Bowden, Alec Jones, Matt Bancroft, Rory Harries, Ben Drew, Dale Rogers (replaced by Kalum Phillips), Rhys Hutchinson, Harry Oliver (replaced by Cory Bushell-Thomas), Craig Hudd (captain), Rhys Jones, Rhys Morgans (replaced by Ben Sier) and Alex Bourne.