Tries by Josh Davies, Josh Hamer and George McDonald.
Conversions by Nick Gale, Jonathan Rogers and George McDonald.
Penalty by Nick Gale.
Tries by Sam Scarfe (2), Pat Lewis, Geraint Walsh, Dan Babos, Joel Mahoney and Scott Matthews.
Conversions by Matthew Jarvis (5).
Pooler’s cup delight in blustery Pembrokeshire
Pontypool made the long journey west to the pleasant surroundings of the Lewis Lloyd Ground to take on Narberth in the first round of the WRU Championship Cup, writes Ray Ruddick. The game was dominated by a very strong wind which Pooler had in their favour in the first half and built up a commanding 38-3 lead. They held on comfortably in the second period to record another impressive win and progress into the quarter-finals. The eight clubs that have reached this stage are Bargoed, Beddau, Bedwas, Cross Keys, Neath, Pontypool, Trebanos and Ystrad Rhondda.
Pontypool kicked off defending the clubhouse end of the ground on a fine afternoon. In the 4th minute a well-worked, pre-planned move at a lineout on the Otters’ 22 on Pooler’s right saw hooker Sam Scarfe throw short to second row Garin Price, while their opponents were caught napping, and he returned the ball to Scarfe in the five-metre channel. There were no defenders in front of him and he sprinted 20 metres to open the scoring with an unconverted try near the corner (0-5). Eight minutes later visiting full back Geraint Walsh fielded a kick just inside Pooler’s half, made a break down the left and passed to centre Pat Lewis who crossed for a try in the corner. The conversion attempt went wide (0-10). After a quarter-of-an-hour’s play, Pooler were caught offside just outside their 22 in midfield and home full back Nick Gale kicked the penalty (3-10).
Midway through the first half Pooler gained possession on the Otters’ 10-metre line and the ball reached centre Joel Mahoney who put in a lovely grubber kick which was gathered by the experienced Geraint Walsh and he scored a try 15 metres in on the right. Matthew Jarvis slotted his first place kick of the afternoon with a fine conversion (3-17). In the 28th minute left wing Deon Smith received a long pass wide out and was tackled inside the home 22. The ball reached Sam Scarfe who scored his second try of the afternoon under the posts, which Matthew Jarvis converted (3-24).
On 35 minutes loose ball came from a lineout on Pooler’s left between Narberth’s 10-metre line and 22. The ball was picked up by Garin Price who fed flanker Callum Davies and then scrum half Dan Babos received the scoring pass after some great handling and he touched down to the left of the posts. Matthew Jarvis added the extras (3-31). In the 3rd minute of injury time, Sam Scarfe was yellow-carded for a high tackle on Pontypool’s 10-metre line in midfield. Then replacement hooker Aneurin Jenkins temporary replaced wing Mathew Powell, a requirement for scrummaging purposes. Three minutes later Pooler had a scrum near their 10-metre line. No 8 and captain Scott Matthews, who was making a welcome return after injury, picked up and passed to Joel Mahoney who took the ball at speed and split the home defence to sprint 50 metres and score a try under the posts. Matthew Jarvis added his fourth conversion of the match. Half time score – Narberth 3 Pontypool 38.
In the 4th minute of the second period Narberth scored a try through wing Josh Davies in the left corner, following a chip ahead. Nick Gale converted (10-38). Then Tom Piper replaced Kelvyn Williams at tight head prop for the visitors. After 50 minutes play was inside Narberth’s 22 and Dan Babos took a quick tap penalty. Pooler made several drives towards the line and eventually Scott Matthews stretched over to score a try under the posts and Matthew Jarvis slotted another two points from the tee (10-45). Pontypool then made some changes with flanker Mike Herbert making way for Ieuan Jones in the back row, Dai Langdon for Joel Mahoney in the centre, Sam Cochrane came on for Kyan Best at loose head prop, second row Ashley Sweet was replaced by Adam Brown, Aaron Quick took over from Dan Babos, Aneurin Jenkins permanently replaced Sam Scarfe and Deon Smith made way for the young Dylan Lewis, making his league and cup debut.
In the 67th minute play was between Narberth’s 10-metre line and half-way when home flanker Josh Hamer intercepted a pass and galloped 50 metres to score a try to the right of the posts. This score was converted by outside half Jonathan Rogers (17-45). Then, with four minutes remaining, Narberth scored another interception try when replacement scrum half George McDonald received the ball on half-way and raced over for a try under the posts and he converted to make the final score Narberth 24 Pontypool 45. It was a good comeback by Narberth but it was too much to ask as Pontypool did enough in the first half to secure the win in the end.
This was a job well done by Pooler in difficult conditions. They played some good rugby at times with some impressive handling and powerful drives. Pontypool are back in WRU Admiral National Championship league action on Saturday when they welcome Ystrad Rhondda to Pontypool Park, kick-off 2.30pm.
Narberth: Nick Gale, Josh Davies, Ilan Phillips, Hedd Nicholas, Ashley Sutton, Jonathan Rogers, Lewys Gibby, Bradley Davies, Dan Smith, Tom Slater, Ieuan Badham, Alex Jenkins, Josh Hamer, Caine Rees-Jones and Rhys Williams. Replacements: Dan Smith, Sean Janes, Kyle Hamer, George McDonald, Henry Foster, Josh Evans, Gino Setaro and Llew Jones.
Pontypool: Geraint Walsh, Mathew Powell (temporary replaced by Aneurin Jenkins), Pat Lewis, Joel Mahoney (replaced by Dai Langdon), Deon Smith (replaced by Dylan Lewis), Matthew Jarvis, Dan Babos (replaced by Aaron Quick), Kyan Best (replaced by Sam Cochrane), Sam Scarfe (replaced by Aneurin Jenkins), Kelvyn Williams (replaced by Tom Piper), Garin Price, Ashley Sweet (replaced by Adam Brown), Mike Herbert (replaced by Ieuan Jones), Callum Davies and Scott Matthews (captain).