Tries by Mathew Powell (2), Peter Lloyd (2), Dai Langdon, Amosa Nove and Pat Lewis.
Conversions by Matthew Jarvis (7).
Try by Will Gregory.
Conversion by Adam Tetley.
Pooler’s ‘magnificent seven’ tries in comfortable derby win over Keys
Pontypool welcomed near neighbours and traditional rivals Cross Keys to Pontypool Park under lights on Friday evening in a re-arranged WRU Admiral National Championship match, writes Ray Ruddick. Pooler secured their try bonus point inside half an hour and, after this win, are now seven points clear of Neath at the top of the table, with both clubs having played 11 matches.
Pontypool kicked off attacking the scoreboard end of the ground in heavy drizzle, but mild. Pooler made the early running and in the fourth minute Pooler tested the Keys’ defence with centre Dai Langdon eventually crossing for a try, 15 metres in from the right corner. Outside half Matthew Jarvis slotted the conversion (7-0). Seven minutes later the home side were again on the attack inside Keys’ 22 and full back Geraint Walsh put in a lovely chip ahead towards the right corner. The ball was gathered by right wing Mathew Powell who touched down 10 metres in from the corner. Matthew Jarvis added the extras (14-0).
Midway through the first half, Pooler had a lineout near the Keys’ goal line, on Pontypool’s right. From the ensuing driving lineout the Pooler pack powered their way over the line and hooker Peter Lloyd scored a try 15 metres in. Matthew Jarvis converted (21-0). Seven minutes later Pooler made a break from a scrum near halfway and some good handling resulted in a second try of the evening for Mathew Powell in the right corner – and Pontypool’s bonus point. Once again Matthew Jarvis was on target with a superbly struck conversion (28-0). In the 40th minute second row Adam Stratton took a knock and was replaced by Callum Davies who went into the back row and Ieuan Jones moved up to the second row. In the third minute of injury time and on the stroke of half time, Pooler scored their fifth try of the half through another driving lineout and another try by Peter Lloyd, in a similar position to his first. Matthew Jarvis added two more points from the tee. Half time score – Pontypool 35 Cross Keys 0.
Ten minutes into the second half and Cross Keys opened their account with a try by flanker Will Gregory following a cross-kick to the left corner. Centre Adam Tetley converted (35-7). Pontypool then changed their props with loose head Kyan Best making way for Sam Cochrane and tight head Kelvyn Williams was replaced by Tom Piper. In the 55th minute Pontypool were inside the visitors’ 22 and Pooler’s driving maul took play to near the Keys’ goal line. Scrum half Owain Leonard got the ball and put left wing Amosa Nove, who came off his wing, over for a try, 15 metres in from the left corner. Matthew Jarvis added another two points with his sixth conversion (42-7). On 58 minutes Mathew Powell made way for Duan Thomas and on the hour mark Dai Jones came on for Owain Leonard for the hosts.
Then in the final ten minutes of the match the referee issued no fewer than four yellow cards and a red. Firstly Keys replacement Zach Bartlett saw yellow for a high tackle, then second row and captain Tom Lampard dropped his shoulder into a Pooler player so he was sent to the sin bin soon after. On 72 minutes, Pooler scored their final try when centre Pat Lewis beat three Cross Keys defenders as he danced his way over the line with a try under the posts. Matthew Jarvis kicked the easy conversion (49-7). Back to the cards, and replacement prop Richard Cornock was binned for a late tackle, then Pooler’s Tom Piper was yellow-carded for holding an opposing player while Keys replacement hooker Connah Vaughan was sent off for punching. Just before the final whistle Peter Lloyd was replaced by the returning Kelvyn Williams for the home side. Final score – Pontypool 49 Cross Keys 7.
Pontypool built up a very healthy lead in an impressive first half display, but the second period lacked accuracy and cohesion. Nevertheless Pooler were too strong for their Gwent rivals and they still have maximum points in their league campaign so far. Next up for Pooler is another re-arranged WRU Admiral National Championship game against Narberth who will make the long journey to Pontypool Park on Saturday for an earlier than usual kick-off of 1.30pm as the Scotland v Wales Six Nations encounter kicks-off at 4.45pm.
Pontypool: Geraint Walsh, Mathew Powell (replaced by Duan Thomas), Pat Lewis, Dai Langdon, Amosa Nove, Matthew Jarvis, Owain Leonard (replaced by Dai Jones), Kyan Best (replaced by Sam Cochrane), Peter Lloyd (replaced by the returning Kelvyn Williams), Kelvyn Williams (replaced by Tom Piper), Adam Stratton (replaced by Callum Davies), Ashley Sweet, Scott Matthews (captain), Mike Herbert and Ieuan Jones.
Cross Keys: Tom Davies, Walker Price, Cam Davies, Adam Tetley, Tom Gillespie, Jake Hillman, Liam Thomas, Aaron Dowse, Louis Tovey, Jordan Rogers, Brian Feeney, Tom Lampard (captain), Will Gregory, Chris Johnson and Lewis Robey. Replacements: Connah Vaughan, Richard Cornock, Josh Wall, Sam Ireland and Zach Bartlett.