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Match PreviewMatch Report
39 - 27 HT 17 - 20 Saturday 12th November 2022 / 2:30pm Kick Off
Referee: Gwyn Morris (Cardiff)
Pontypool RFC

Pontypool RFC

Tries by Deon Smith (2), Pat Lewis, Dylan Kelleher-Griffiths and a penalty try.

Conversions by Matthew Jarvis (3).

Penalties by Matthew Jarvis (2).

Bargoed RFC

Bargoed RFC

Tries by Tom Rice, Dylan Williams and Keaton Davies.

Conversions by Steffan Jones (3).

Penalties by Steffan Jones (2).

39 - 27 HT 17 - 20 Saturday 12th November 2022 / 2:30pm Kick Off
WRU Admiral National Championship
Referee: Gwyn Morris (Cardiff)







Pooler showed great character in defeating Bargoed

Wow, what a match! Wow, what a comeback! Pontypool welcomed Bargoed to picturesque and colourful Pontypool Park for this top-of-the-table clash in the WRU Admiral National Championship as second took on third, writes Ray Ruddick. Pontypool showed huge heart and desire in coming back from a twenty-point deficit to gain a bonus-point victory. Congratulations to both teams on producing such an entertaining and enthralling encounter, in front of a good crowd, which was a great advert, not only for the National Championship but for Welsh club rugby in general – they should all be proud of their efforts. Experienced and well-respected referee Gwyn Morris of Cardiff should also be congratulated on his superb handling of the match.

Bargoed kicked off attacking the scoreboard end of the ground on a dry and mild autumn afternoon. The visitors started the stronger and, after six minutes, Pontypool were guilty of collapsing a scrum 25 metres from their goal line in midfield. Up stepped centre Steffan Jones to put his side into an early lead with a successful shot at goal (0-3). Three minutes later, the visitors ran the ball out of defence from near their 22, broke clear along their left flank and No 8 Tom Rice crossed for a try in the corner which was converted by Steffan Jones with a fine kick (0-10). In the 17th minute Bargoed were on the attack inside Pooler’s 22 and moved the ball left for left wing Dylan Williams to cross in the corner for a try. Steffan Jones added the extras with another good conversion (0-17).

After 22 minutes Pontypool were penalised at a ruck 7 metres in on Bargoed’s right, 30 metres from Pooler’s goal line and Steffan Jones slotted the penalty to put his side into a commanding 20-0 lead. However, three minutes later Pooler replied. Pontypool fielded a missed kick for touch and play went right. Young right wing Ewan Rosser made a great break and the ball eventually reached centre Pat Lewis who scored a try to the right of the posts. Outside half Matthew Jarvis converted (7-20). In the 35th minute Bargoed were penalised for side entry at a ruck in midfield just inside the visitors’ half. Matthew Jarvis opted for a shot at goal. He struck the ball sweetly and it sailed between the uprights (10-20). Four minutes later Pooler were on the attack with the referee playing advantage for the home side. The ball went left and wing Deon Smith squeezed over in the corner for a try which was superbly converted by Matthew Jarvis to reduce the arrears to just three points. Half time score – Pontypool 17 Bargoed 20.

Eight minutes into the second period and the visitors were guilty of side entry at a ruck 17 metres in on Pooler’s right, on Bargoed’s 22. Matthew Jarvis brought the scores level with a successful shot at goal (20-20). Three minutes later play was inside Pontypool’s 22 with Bargoed testing the home defence. The ball went left and flanker Keaton Davies squeezed over in the corner to put his side back in front. This score was converted by Steffan Jones (20-27). In the 55th minute Pooler made their first change with influential captain and flanker Scott Matthews making way for Mike Herbert. On the hour Pontypool won a lineout 10 metres from the Bargoed goal line and the home forwards drove their opponents back. Bargoed collapsed the driving maul just before the line and the referee had no hesitation but to run between the posts and awarded Pontypool a penalty try and, as a result, Bargoed’ flanker Lewis Johnson, who was the offender, was shown the yellow card (27-27). Then Peter Lloyd took over from tight head prop Kelvyn Williams in the Pooler front row.

In the 69th minute Pontypool’s young full back Huw Anderson took a knock and was replaced by Dai Langdon. Four minutes later Pooler were putting the Bargoed defence under pressure and, after several drives towards the line, the ball was moved left for Deon Smith to score his second five-pointer of the contest, and Pooler’s bonus-point try near the corner. Matthew Jarvis’ conversion attempt hit the top of the upright but did not go between the posts (32-27). Pooler’s experienced second row Ashley Sweet was then replaced by Cameron Regan and shortly after Dylan Kelleher-Griffiths took over from Sam Cochrane at loose head prop. In the first minute of injury time Pontypool had a scrum put in five metres in from touch on Pooler’s right between the visitors’ 10-metre line and 22. The Pooler eight shunted their opponents back and won a penalty. Matthew Jarvis went for goal but his kick rebounded off the post in play and Bargoed cleared. Then in the 88th and final minute of this pulsating clash, the visitors dropped out from their goal line. Ewan Rosser fielded the kick and took play back into Bargoed’s 22. The Pooler forwards recycled the ball and Dylan Kelleher-Griffiths barged over for a try near the posts which prevented Bargoed from getting a losing bonus point. Matthew Jarvis slotted the conversion. Final score – Pontypool 39 Bargoed 27.

This was Pontypool’s 49th consecutive home win in the league. Their last league home defeat was 20-17 against RGC on 23 April 2016 and Gwyn Morris was the referee that day. Since that game against the Gogs, Pontypool have lost only three home games – 7-6 to Aberavon in a pre-season friendly in August 2016, 27-24 to Llanelli also in a pre-season friendly a year later and 21-17 in that titanic televised battle against Carmarthen Quins in the WRU Cup in January 2020, which, again, was controlled by Mr Morris. This win keeps Pooler’s 100% league record intact and takes them six points clear of Bargoed with a game in hand but still trail leaders Neath by two points but Pooler also have a game in hand over the Welsh All Blacks. Due to Wales having an afternoon kick-off for the next two Saturdays, Pontypool’s next game will be on Saturday 3 December when they travel to Bridge Field to take on Bedwas, kick-off 2.30pm.

Pontypool: Huw Anderson (replaced by Dai Langdon), Ewan Rosser, Pat Lewis, Joel Mahoney, Deon Smith, Matthew Jarvis, Owain Leonard, Sam Cochrane (replaced by Dylan Kelleher-Griffiths), Sam Scarfe, Kelvyn Williams (replaced by Peter Lloyd), Adam Brown, Ashley Sweet (replaced by Cameron Regan), Scott Matthews (captain, replaced by Mike Herbert), Callum Davies and Ieuan Jones.

Bargoed: Josh Prosser, Dai Evans, Darren Humphries, Steffan Jones, Dylan Williams, Matthew Lewis, James Leadbetter, Keiron Brown (captain), Wade Langley, Ali Gardner-Key, James Locke, Geraint Edmunds, Lewis Johnson, Keaton Davies and Tom Rice. Replacements: Ollie Andrews, Grant Rogers, Owain Cooper, Lewys Lippiett and Keegan Bale.


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