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Match PreviewMatch Report
54 - 3 HT 19 - 3 Saturday 14th January 2023 / 2:30pm Kick Off
Referee: Kristoff Young (Chepstow)
Pontypool RFC

Pontypool RFC

Tries by Amosa Nove (3), Mathew Powell, Adam Stratton, Mike Herbert, Ashley Sweet and Dai Langdon.

Conversions by Matthew Jarvis (7).

Maesteg Harlequins RFC

Maesteg Harlequins RFC

Penalty by Owen Howe.

54 - 3 HT 19 - 3 Saturday 14th January 2023 / 2:30pm Kick Off
WRU Admiral National Championship
Referee: Kristoff Young (Chepstow)







Pooler ease to bonus-point victory over battling Quins

Pontypool welcomed Maesteg Harlequins to Pontypool Park for a WRU Admiral National Championship match on a very damp but fine afternoon, writes Ray Ruddick. South Wales had much rainfall over the previous few days so conditions under foot were very heavy. Pooler won the corresponding fixture at South Parade 50-3 in the opening league match of this season. The visitors were led onto the field by centre Lee Ronan, accompanied by his daughter Eleri, on the occasion of his 200th appearance for his club. Congratulations Lee, a fine achievement.

Pontypool kicked off attacking the bandstand end of the ground, in their changed blue jerseys and made all the early running, testing their visitors’ defence from the outset. In the 4th minute Pooler had a scrum feed under Quins’ posts. Play went right and the ball reached wing Mathew Powell who scored the game’s opening try, 15 metres in from the corner. Outside half Matthew Jarvis kicked the conversion (7-0). Twelve minutes later the home side went on the attack and, after several drives towards the goal line, the ball was released and play went left. A lovely offload by young full back Huw Anderson after breaking through the Quins defence, put left wing Amosa Nove over in the corner. The conversion attempt went narrowly wide (12-0). Lee Ronan was shown the yellow card after the visitors had conceded several penalties in quick succession.

On the half hour Pontypool were guilty of holding on, 30 metres from their goal line in midfield and visiting outside half Owen Howe slotted his kick at goal (12-3). In the second minute of injury time Pooler were penalised at a lineout on half-way for pulling on a jumper’s arm in the air but the long attempt at the posts failed. Then two minutes later and on the stroke of half time, Pooler secured turnover ball between their 10-metre line and 22. Veteran second row Ashley Sweet made a great break and gallops into the Quins half. He found Adam Stratton in support and the busy flanker showed power and speed to race over for a try 15 metres in from the right corner, despite the best efforts of two defenders. Matthew Jarvis added the extras to make the half time score Pontypool 19 Maesteg Harlequins 3.

In the second minute of the second period a great break from inside his own half by the outstanding Mathew Powell took play inside Quins 22 and he gave the scoring pass to flanker Mike Herbert who scored Pooler’s bonus point try, converted by Matthew Jarvis (26-3). Herbert’s try was the club’s 2,500th in the league since the inception of the league structure in September 1990. In the 49th minute play was just outside the Quins’ 22. Ashley Sweet charged down a clearance kick, gathered the bouncing ball and dived over for a try to the right of the posts. Matthew Jarvis again added two points from the tee (33-3).

Pontypool were now giving the ball plenty of air and, two minutes later, the build-up for Amosa Nove’s second try, who touched down near the posts, started in the Pooler half. Once again, the reliable Matthew Jarvis slotted the conversion (40-3). Pooler then made a couple of changes - captain and number 8 Scott Matthews was replaced by Callum Davies and centre Deon Smith made way for Duan Thomas. In the 57th minute Pontypool’s last three replacements took the field – Ieuan Jones, Kyan Best and Tom Piper took over from Ashley Sweet, loose head prop Sam Cochrane and tight head prop Kelvyn Williams respectively.

After an hour’s play Pontypool were in possession in midfield between the Quins’ 10-metre line and 22. Matthew Jarvis put in a telling grubber kick towards the left corner. The ball went over the goal line and in a scramble, centre Dai Langdon managed to get downward pressure and registered his side’s seventh five-pointer of the afternoon. Matthew Jarvis again nailed the conversion (47-3). With ten minutes remaining Pooler won a turnover on their 10-metre line, courtesy of Ieuan Jones and eventually Duan Thomas made the scoring pass to Amosa Nove for the winger to bag his try hat-trick, touching down to the left of the posts. Matthew Jarvis made it seven out of eight conversions and a match haul of 14 points. Final score – Pontypool 54 Maesteg Harlequins 3.

This was a comfortable victory for Pontypool but credit to Maesteg Harlequins who kept going right to the final whistle and put in a spirited performance. With Bargoed defeating visitors Neath by 21 points to 18, Pontypool swapped places with Neath and head the Championship table with a maximum 50 points from 10 games played, Neath, now in second, have 48 points from 11 games and third-placed Bargoed are on 38 points having played 10 games. Neath and Bargoed have lost two games each.

Next up for Pontypool is the mouth-watering Championship Cup quarter-final clash with Bargoed at Bargoed Park on Saturday. Pooler’s next home match is the WRU Admiral National Championship league clash with traditional local rivals Cross Keys at Pontypool Park on Saturday 28 January. Kick off for both games will be at 2.30pm.

Pontypool: Huw Anderson, Mathew Powell, Deon Smith (replaced by Duan Thomas), Dai Langdon, Amosa Nove, Matthew Jarvis, Dai Jones, Sam Cochrane (replaced by Kyan Best), Peter Lloyd, Kelvyn Williams (replaced by Tom Piper), Garin Price, Ashley Sweet (replaced by Ieuan Jones) , Mike Herbert, Adam Stratton and Scott Matthews (captain, replaced by Callum Davies).

Maesteg Harlequins: Harry Morgan-Grant, Alex Griffiths, Brandon Huntley, Lee Ronan, Geraint Evans, Owen Howe, Jake Williams, Declan Milton-Harris, Jay Ronan, Dean Ronan, Stephen Williams (captain), Owen Watkins, Rhys Nicholls, Jack Goodridge and Andrew Healy. Replacements: Gavin Burridge, Akeem Eubank-Anderson, Lewis Tutt, Morgan Williams and Kristian Jenkins.


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