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Match PreviewMatch Report
54 - 23 HT 19 - 16 Saturday 11th February 2023 / 1:30pm Kick Off
Referee: Dai Cambourne (Treharris)
Pontypool RFC

Pontypool RFC

Tries by Deon Smith, Pat Lewis, Matthew Jarvis, Scott Matthews, Mike Herbert, Garin Price, Amosa Nove and Mathew Powell.

Conversions by Matthew Jarvis (5) and Dai Langdon (2).

Narberth RFC

Narberth RFC

Tries by Ben Thomas (2).

Conversions by Nick Gale (2).

Penalties by Nick Gale (3).

54 - 23 HT 19 - 16 Saturday 11th February 2023 / 1:30pm Kick Off
WRU Admiral National Championship
Referee: Dai Cambourne (Treharris)







Efficient Pooler too strong for battling Narberth in enthralling encounter

Narberth made the long trip east to take on in-form Pontypool in a re-arranged WRU Admiral National Championship match on a fine and mild Saturday afternoon at Pontypool Park, writes Ray Ruddick. There was very little to choose between the two sides in a tight and very competitive first half. However Pooler moved through the gears in the second period and kept their unbeaten record for the season intact.

Before kick-off, Pontypool RFC Executive Chairman Peter Jeffreys led the tributes and there was a minute’s applause in memory of a much-loved character, one-third of the legendary Pontypool Front Row and one of the club’s true greats, Anthony George Faulkner, affectionately known as Charlie, who had passed away two days previous.

Narberth kicked off attacking the scoreboard end of the ground. In the fourth minute Pontypool were on the attack inside the Otters’ 22 on Pooler’s right and, after several drives towards the line, and with the referee playing a Pooler advantage, the ball went left across the back-line and left wing Deon Smith squeezed over in the corner for the opening try of the game. The conversion attempt went narrowly wide (5-0). Six minutes later Pontypool were penalised at a ruck a metre or so inside their half, 15 metres in on Narberth’s right but the attempt at goal fell short. In the 18th minute Pontypool were guilty of collapsing a scrum 10 metres in from touch on Narberth’s right, 30 metres from the home goal line and up stepped full back Nick Gale who slotted the shot at goal (5-3). Half-way through the first half a Pooler pass went astray near their 10-metre line. Visiting scrum half Ben Thomas gathered and went over for a try 10 metres in from the left corner. This score was converted by Nick Gale (5-10).

In the 27th minute a good break by Pontypool second row Garin Price took play into Narberth’s 22 and he offloaded to the supporting Pat Lewis for the centre to score a try in the left corner. Matthew Jarvis nailed the conversion with a superb kick (12-10). On the half-hour mark Pooler were penalised at a ruck near their 22, wide out on Narberth’s left and Nick Gale put his side back in front with his second penalty goal of the afternoon (12-13). Six minutes later the home side were caught offside, four metres inside their half and 15 metres in on the Otters’ right. Nick Gale made it a hat trick of penalties with a well-struck kick and extended the visitors’ lead to four points (12-16). In the 38th minute Pontypool were on the attack deep inside Narberth’s 22 on Pooler’s left. Scrum half Owain Leonard found his half back partner Matthew Jarvis who went through a huge gap in the visitors’ defence to score a try under the posts and he duly converted (19-16). Then in the second minute of injury time, Pontypool were again penalised at a scrum 20 metres in on Narberth’s right just inside the visitors’ half but the shot at goal went wide. Half time score in this absorbing match – Pontypool 19 Narberth 16.

In the fifth minute of the second half Pontypool were putting their opponents under pressure and number eight and captain Scott Matthews forced his way over for his side’s bonus-point try, 10 metres in on Pooler’s right. Matthew Jarvis added two more points from the tee ((26-16). In the 54th minute a great Pooler break took play into Narberth’s 22 and flanker Mike Herbert was on hand to take the scoring pass to touch down under the posts. Matthew Jarvis kicked the easy conversion (33-16). Nine minutes later play was deep inside the Otters’ 22 and from a driving lineout, Garin Price scored a deserved try, 15 metres in on Pooler’s right with Matthew Jarvis making no mistake with the conversion (40-16). Then Pontypool made changes at half back with Dai Jones replacing Owain Leonard and Matthew Jarvis made way for Amosa Nove. Dai Langdon moved from centre to outside half and Nove slotted into the centre.

In the 66th minute the Pooler defence were caught off guard and Narberth replied with a second try by Ben Thomas to the right of the posts, converted by Nick Gale (40-23). Seven minutes later Kelvyn Williams took over from tight head prop Tom Piper and youngster Connor Lewis, making his league debut, replaced veteran second row Ashley Sweet for the home side, with Callum Davies moving from flanker to second row and Lewis going to open side flanker. Going into time added on for stoppages at the end of the match, Pontypool were on the attack and, after several drives to the line, the ball was released and play went left for Amosa Nove to slice through the Otters’ defence and scored a try, 10 metres in from the corner. Dai Langdon obliged with a successful conversion (47-23). Pooler hooker Peter Lloyd was then replaced by Aneurin Jenkins. In the 83rd minute Narberth replacement Sean Janes was yellow-carded for a dangerous tackle. Then two minutes later and with the final action of the game, a move which started inside Pooler’s half, ended with right wing Mathew Powell chipping ahead, he gathered and scored under the posts for Pooler’s eighth try of the afternoon. Dai Langdon rounded off the scoring with the conversion. Final score – Pontypool 54 Narberth 23.

This was a job well done for Pontypool after a difficult first 40 minutes. It was a good test against quality opposition as both sides contributed to an entertaining match. The biggest test for Pooler so far this season will undoubtedly be next week’s clash with Neath at The Gnoll when the top two in the Championship go head-to-head. Pooler won 34-30 in the meeting at Pontypool Park back in September so it promises to be a cracker – kick-off at 2.30pm.

Pontypool: Geraint Walsh, Mathew Powell, Pat Lewis, Dai Langdon, Deon Smith, Matthew Jarvis (replaced by Amosa Nove), Owain Leonard (replaced by Dai Jones), Sam Cochrane, Peter Lloyd (replaced by Aneurin Jenkins), Tom Piper (replaced by Kelvyn Williams), Garin Price, Ashley Sweet (replaced by Connor Lewis), Mike Herbert, Callum Davies and Scott Matthews (captain).

Narberth: Nick Gale, Ashley Sutton, Jordan Roberts, Ilan Phillips, Josh Davies, Jonathan Rogers, Ben Thomas, Bradley Davies, Dan Smith, Tom Slater, Rhys Williams, Alex Jenkins, Rich Rees, Tom Powell (captain) and Roy Osborn. Replacements – Kyle Hamer, Sean Janes, Caine Rees-Jones, Hedd Nicholas and Ianto Griffiths.


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