Penalties by Harrison James (3).
Try by Amosa Nove.
Conversion by Matthew Jarvis.
Penalties by Matthew Jarvis (3).
Pooler’s capital victory in the capital
Pontypool travelled to the capital on Saturday looking for their sixth straight win in the Indigo Premiership as they took on Cardiff at Cardiff Arms Park, writes Ray Ruddick. In a game where defences were on top, there was little to choose between the two sides throughout the game in this tense, titanic tussle. However, Pooler left it late again to score the winning try, as they did a fortnight previous at Merthyr, with Amosa Nove once again being in the right place at the right time.
Before the match got under way there was a minute silence in memory of Dennis Gethin, the former WRU President and Secretary and former Cardiff full back who had passed away earlier in the week. Cardiff kicked off attacking the clubhouse end of the ground on a mild but showery afternoon. The early exchanges were even and in the 10th minute Pontypool were penalised at a scrum, 7 metres inside Cardiff’s half in midfield but the attempt at goal struck the left upright. Three minutes later Pooler full back Huw Anderson hobbled off after having taken a blow to the leg and he was replaced by Matt Bancroft. In the 27th minute the visitors were penalised 5 metres inside their half, 15 metres in on Cardiff’s left and outside half Harrison James kicked the goal to put the home side into the lead (3-0).
In the 32nd minute Cardiff were penalised at a scrum, 5 metres inside their half and 5 metres in from Pooler’s right touchline. Up stepped outside half Matthew Jarvis who slotted the kick to bring the scores level (3-3). Four minutes later Pooler transgressed at a ruck a metre inside Cardiff’s half in midfield but the shot at goal went wide of the left upright. As the game approached injury time, Pontypool were guilty of holding on, 2 metres inside their half, 15 metres in from touch on Cardiff’s right and this time Harrison James made no mistake with his attempt at goal to give the home side a slight advantage at the interval. Half time score – Cardiff 6 Pontypool 3.
In the second minute of the second period Cardiff were guilty of not binding at a scrum, 10 metres in from Pooler’s left touchline, 35 metres from the home goal line and Matthew Jarvis brought the scores level again with a successful shot at goal (6-6). Three minutes later Cardiff were caught holding on near their 10-metre line, 20 metres in on Pooler’s right but the penalty attempt struck the upright and stayed in play, then Cardiff cleared. In the 47th minute Pooler No 8 Ben Moa was replaced by Scott Matthews and second row Alex Grey made way for Lance Randall. Pooler were now gaining the ascendancy in the scrums and in the 51st minute Cardiff were penalised at a scrum on half-way to the left of the posts and Jarvis’ goal attempt again struck the upright and bounced infield. Two minutes later and Pooler made another change with Sam Scarfe taking over from hooker Peter Lloyd.
Just before the hour mark Pooler went offside at a ruck, 6 metres inside the visitors’ half and 15 metres in from touch on Cardiff’s right but the shot at the posts went wide. In the 65th minute Pooler changed both props as Sam Cochrane took over from Dylan Kelleher-Griffiths at loose head and Ollie Drake made way for Kelvyn Williams on the tight head. Four minutes later the home side were guilty of holding on, 2 metres inside Pooler’s half in midfield and Matthew Jarvis put Pontypool ahead with a fine kick (6-9). On 73 minutes Pooler made their final two replacements when flanker Callum Davies was replaced by Adam Stratton and Matthew Flanagan took over from busy scrum half Morgan Lloyd. Back came the Blue and Blacks and in the 79th minute, Pontypool were penalised at a ruck on their 10-metre line in midfield and Harrison James kicked the goal to make in a tense final few minutes (9-9). In the 81st minute Cardiff tried to clear from their 22 but the kick was charged down by centre Amosa Nove who managed to dive on the ball over the goal line to the left of the posts to give Pooler a deserved lead and did what he did at The Wern in Pooler’s last away match and sealed victory at the end of another pulsating game. Matthew Jarvis added the extras and there was still time to re-start but Pooler held on. Final score – Cardiff 9 Pontypool 16.
This was another huge win for Pontypool which kept them on this impressive winning streak. It is testament to the work ethic and belief in the squad that they have notched up six league wins on the bounce. However, it doesn’t get any easier for Pooler as next up is a Gwent derby and a top-of-the-table clash with Ebbw Vale at Pontypool Park on Thursday evening, kick-off 7.30pm. The game has been brought forward from the Saturday due to it being televised live on S4C Clic.
Cardiff: Jacob Lloyd (replaced by Matty Young), James Beal (replaced by Kodie Stone), Luke Pollock, Jason Harries, Joe Goodchild, Harrison James, Tom Habberfield (replaced by Joe Williams), Ollie Evans (replaced by Brynley Toms), Evan Lloyd, Adam Williams (replaced by Christian Brooke), Ethan Phillips (replaced by Shaun O’Rourke), Sean Moore, Alun Rees (replaced by Joey Tomlinson), Craig Hudd and Morgan Allen (captain).
Pontypool: Huw Anderson (replaced by Matt Bancroft), Ewan Rosser, Joel Mahoney, Amosa Nove, Walker Price, Matthew Jarvis, Morgan Lloyd (replaced by Matthew Flanagan), Dylan Kelleher-Griffiths (replaced by Sam Cochrane), Peter Lloyd (replaced by Sam Scarfe), Ollie Drake (replaced by Kelvyn Williams), Alex Grey (replaced by Lance Randall), Ashley Sweet, Mike Herbert (captain), Callum Davies (replaced by Adam Stratton) and Ben Moa (replaced by Scott Matthews).