Tries by Stef Andrews and Frankie Jones.
Conversions by James Davies (2).
Penalties by Aled Thomas (2).
Tries by Peter Lloyd and Ewan Rosser.
Wizards knock Pooler out of Premiership Cup
For the second time in eight days Pontypool made the journey to the Talbot Athletic Ground to take on Aberavon, writes Ray Ruddick. The first match was in the Indigo Premiership which Pooler won 12-10 in a very close contest. This second encounter was in the Premiership Cup and, in another game that could have gone either way, it was the Wizards who gained revenge as they progress to the quarter-finals.
Pontypool, once again in their changed strip of predominately black jerseys, kicked off attacking the scoreboard end of the ground on a fine and dry afternoon. In the fifth minute Aberavon took play into Pooler’s 22 and the visitors were guilty of not releasing in a tackle on their 22, 20 metres in from touch on Aberavon’s left. Outside half Aled Thomas made no mistake in slotting the kick at goal to put his side into an early lead (3-0). Two minutes later the Wizards were caught holding on, 30 metres from their goal line, 15 metres in on Pooler’s right but the attempt at goal went wide, After 10 minutes Aberavon were penalised at a scrum, 25 metres from their line, 10 metres in on the visitors’ left but the shot at the posts again went wide. Four minutes later Pontypool’s loose head prop Kyan Best took a knock to his right shoulder and was replaced by Sam Cochrane.
In the 17th minute Pooler were penalised for dropping their binding at a scrum in front of their posts and Aled Thomas doubled the home advantage with his second successful penalty kick (6-0). After 25 minutes the home side were guilty of not rolling away at a ruck on their 10-metre line in midfield and again Pooler failed with the shot at the uprights. However in the 38th minute Pooler finally got on the scoreboard. The visitors were testing the home defence with play inside Aberavon’s 22. After a powerful forward drive, Pooler hooker Peter Lloyd barged over for a try, 15 metres in on Pooler’s right. The conversion attempt struck the outside of the far post. Pooler started the half slowly but gradually grew into the game and at the interval the game was in the balance with only one point separating these two famous clubs. Half time score – Aberavon 6 Pontypool 5.
At the start of the second period, Matty Bancroft replaced Huw Anderson at full back for the visitors. In the 47th minute Pooler’s tight head prop Kelvyn Williams made way for Ollie Drake and scrum half Owain Leonard was replaced by Matthew Flanagan, making his Pooler debut. A minute later Pontypool were on the attack and a lovely cross kick from midfield to the right corner by outside half Josh Malson was gathered by right wing Ewan Rosser who crossed for an unconverted try in the corner to put Pooler in front for the first time in the tie (6-10). In the 55th minute Matthew Flanagan was yellow carded for a deliberate slap down with Aberavon in possession inside Pooler’s 22 in front of the posts. Two minutes later Pontypool’s defence were under pressure inside their 22 on Aberavon’s right. The Wizards released the ball and play went left. The extra man told as full back Stef Andrews glided over for a try to the left of the posts. Replacement James Davies added the extras to put the home side back in front (13-10). Then Alex Grey replaced debut-making Callum Oliver in the second row for Pontypool.
On the hour mark Aberavon were penalised near their 10-metre line in midfield but, once again Pooler’s attempt at goal went wide. Three minutes later the home side made a break in midfield near the half way line that split their opponents’ defence and centre Frankie Jones scored the all-important try near the right corner to take the Wizards two scores ahead. James Davies slotted a fine conversion (20-10). Scott Matthews then replaced Adam Stratton in Pontypool’s back row and with about 10 minutes remaining Pooler made their final two changes when left wing Walker Price made way for Marcus Jones and Jack Gillard took over from hooker Peter Lloyd. Try as they might, Pontypool could not add to their two tries and came up short in the end. Final score – Aberavon 20 Pontypool 10.
Aberavon deserved their win and good luck to them for the rest of the tournament but Pontypool had their chances. Pooler missed16 kickable points and the Wizards scored 14 points while the visitors were down to 14 men following the yellow card, which turned out to be crucial in the outcome of this cup clash. Pontypool return to league action on Saturday when they welcome Carmarthen Quins to Pontypool Park for an Indigo Premiership match, kick-off 2.30pm.
Aberavon: Stef Andrews, Jay Baker, Frankie Jones, Brad Roderick, Morgan Williams, Aled Thomas, Iwan Temblett, Rowan Jenkins (captain), Luke Davies, Geraint James, Shay Smallman, Rhodri Hughes, Ben Gregory, Joe Tomalin-Reeves and Rhys Thomas. Replacements – Aron Hemmings, James Davies, Scott Delnevo, Iestyn Davies, Cameron Lewis, Travis Huntley, Morgan James and Rhys Fawcett.
Pontypool: Huw Anderson (replaced by Matty Bancroft), Ewan Rosser, Pat Lewis, Amosa Nove, Walker Price (replaced by Marcus Jones), Josh Malson, Owain Leonard (replaced by Matthew Flanagan), Kyan Best (replaced by Sam Cochrane), Peter Lloyd (replaced by Jack Gillard), Kelvyn Williams (replaced by Ollie Drake), Lewis Johnson, Callum Oliver (replaced by Alex Grey), Mike Herbert (captain), Adam Stratton (replaced by Scott Matthews) and Ben Moa.