Tries by Lee Rees, Harri Doel, Taylor Davies and a penalty try.
Conversions by Ioan Hughes (3).
Penalties by Ioan Hughes (3)
Tries by Scott Matthews, Ashley Sweet and Owain Davies.
Conversions by Matthew Jarvis (3).
Impressive Llandovery overcame off-colour Pooler
Pontypool made the long trip west to take on top-of-the-table and current Premiership champions Llandovery at Church Bank in an Indigo Premiership match, and it was the in-form Drovers who came away with a well-deserved win, scoring their bonus-point try with last play deep into injury time, writes Ray Ruddick.
Before kick-off there was a minute silence for Armistice Day and for Dennis Gethin the former WRU President and Secretary who had recently passed away. Pontypool were in their changed kit of predominantly black as Llandovery kicked off, attacking the clubhouse end of the ground on a dry and still, but chilly afternoon. The Drovers’ number eight Joe Powell was making his 150th appearance. Play was inside Pooler’s 22 and in the fourth minute the visitors were caught offside 10 metres from their line to the left of the posts and outside half Ian Hughes slotted the kick to give the home side an early advantage (3-0). Three minutes later Pooler went on the attack and the home side strayed offside on their 22, 15 metres in on Pooler’s right but the attempt at goal went wide of the left upright. In the 12th minute Llandovery were in possession, chipped ahead, chased and gathered for scrum half Lee Rees to take the scoring pass as he touched down 15 metres in from the right corner, converted by Ian Hughes (10-0). Midway through the first half Pooler had a scrum feed near the Llandovery posts when number eight and captain Scott Matthews picked up from the base and powered over for a try under the posts, which outside half Matthew Jarvis converted (10-7).
In the 24th minute Pooler were guilty of an early push at a scrum 15 metres in from touch on the Drovers’ left. Ioan Hughes extended his side’s lead with a successful kick at goal (13-7). Five minutes later Llandovery scored a well-worked try when right wing Harri Doel dotted down under the posts, converted by Ian Hughes (20-7). In the 39th minute Llandovery were penalised at a collapsed scrum near their 22 on Pooler’s left. The visitors kicked for the corner and, after several drives towards the home goal line, veteran second row Ashley Sweet barged over for a try under the posts. Matthew Jarvis kicked the easy conversion (20-14). On the stroke of half time, Llandovery were on the offensive deep inside Pooler’s 22 and the visitors were adjudged to have deliberately knocked on. The referee had no hesitation to award Llandovery a penalty try. Half time score – Llandovery 27 Pontypool 14.
After ten minutes of the second period Pontypool made several changes as Dylan Kelleher-Griffiths replaced Sam Cochrane, who was making his 50th league and cup appearance, at loose head, Alex Grey took over from Lance Randall in the second row and scrum half Morgan Lloyd made way for Matthew Flanagan.. In the 62nd minute Pontypool were penalised at a scrum, 30 metres from their goal line and slightly to the right of the posts. Ioan Hughes kicked his third penalty goal of the match (30-14). Pooler then made three more changes as flanker Mike Herbert made way for Ben Moa and Peter Lloyd took over from Ollie Drake at tight head with Owain Davies making his debut when taking the place of full back Josh Malson.
In the 66th minute Pontypool took a quick tap penalty in front of Llandovery’s posts. The ball was recycled and play went left for Owain Davies to cross for a try in the corner. Matthew Jarvis kicked a fine conversion (30-21). Five minutes later Lewis Johnson took over from Ashley Sweet and then Will Griffiths replaced hooker Sam Scarfe shortly after for the visitors. In the tenth minute of injury time and with the final move of the match, play was inside Pooler’s 22 and replacement hooker Taylor Davies rounded off a great afternoon for the Drovers as he scored their bonus-point try to the left of the posts. Ioan Hughes added the extras to make the final score Llandovery 37 Pontypool 21.
Pontypool seemed to be off-colour throughout and could not get a foothold in the game. The visitors struggled in the tackle area and looked a little disjointed. However, full credit must go to Llandovery who were well-organised, dangerous and sharp, particularly in broken play. The Drovers were easily the best team Pooler have faced so far this season. Having said that, Pooler never gave up and kept trying right up to the final whistle. The Pontypool players and coaching staff will have the opportunity to assess what went wrong in the coming week before their next challenge, when old rivals Neath will be the welcome visitors to Pontypool Park on Saturday for another Indigo Premiership encounter, kick-off 2.30pm.
Llandovery: Tomi Lewis, Harri Doel, Adam Warren, Rhodri Jones, Aaron Warren, Ian Hughes, Lee Rees, Jamie Hughes, Harry Thomas, Llyr Green, Jack Jones (captain), Ed Scragg, Osain Davies, Stuart Worrall and Joe Powell. Replacements – Dino Dallavalle, Taylor Davies, Berian Watkins, Jordan Evans, Nathan Hart, Macs Page, Jack Maynard and Dafydd Land.
Pontypool: Josh Malson (replaced by Owain Davies), Amosa Nove, Pat Lewis, Joel Mahoney, Walker Price, Matthew Jarvis, Morgan Lloyd (replaced by Matthew Flanagan), Sam Cochrane (replaced by Dylan Kelleher-Griffiths), Sam Scarfe (replace by Will Griffiths), Ollie Drake (replaced by Peter Lloyd), Lance Randall (replaced by Alex Grey), Ashley Sweet (replaced by Lewis Johnson), Mike Herbert (replaced by Ben Moa), Callum Davies and Scott Matthews (captain).