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Match PreviewMatch Report
21 - 26 HT 0 - 20 Saturday 06th January 2024 / 2:30pm Kick Off
Referee: Craig Evans (Glynneath)
Pontypool RFC

Pontypool RFC

Tries by Dan Hill, Marcus Jones and Ashley Sweet.

Conversions by Matthew Jarvis (3).

Aberavon RFC

Aberavon RFC

Tries by Scott Delnevo and Callum Carson.

Conversions by Aled Thomas.

Penalties by Aled Thomas (3) and James Davies.

21 - 26 HT 0 - 20 Saturday 06th January 2024 / 2:30pm Kick Off
Indigo Premiership
Referee: Craig Evans (Glynneath)

Tries

32

Conversions

32

Penalties

04
 

Slow start cost Pooler as they slip to disappointing home defeat

For the first game of 2024, Pontypool welcomed old friends and traditional rivals Aberavon to Pontypool Park on Saturday for an Indigo Premiership match on a damp but fine afternoon, writes Ray Ruddick. Once again Pontypool made a slow start and were 20 points down at the interval. This deficit proved too much for the home side to claw back as a combination of poor Pooler discipline and not their taking opportunities along with a strong Wizards’ defence towards the end of this enthralling encounter resulted in an Aberavon victory.

Before kick-off there was a moment’s applause in memory of Mark Baldwin, a long-standing Pooler volunteer and for many years was the club’s Safety Officer, who sadly passed away recently after a long illness. The club’s thoughts and sympathy are with Mark’s family and friends at this sad and difficult time.

Aberavon kicked off attacking the scoreboard end of the ground. There was little to choose between the two sides in the early stages then, in the eleventh minute, Aberavon were on the attack inside Pooler’s 22. The home side were caught offside in front of their posts and visiting outside half Aled Thomas slotted the easy kick (0-3). Five minutes later Pooler were penalised near their 10-metre line in midfield and Aled Thomas doubled his side’s advantage with another successful shot at goal (0-6).

In the 29th minute the referee was playing an Aberavon advantage close to Pooler’s 10-metre line. The Wizards moved the ball right and full back Scott Delnevo glided over for a try, 20 metres in from the right cover. This score was converted by Aled Thomas (0-13). Pooler centre Joel Mahoney thought he had scored a try in the left corner as he dived over the line but the touch judge noticed that Mahoney had put a foot in touch as he was sprinting along the touchline. Just before half-time Pooler were attacking near the Aberavon 22 when the Wizards’ centre Callum Carson intercepted and sprinted 80 metres to score a try under the posts. Aled Thomas added the extras to give Aberavon a very healthy lead at the interval and a dreadful half for the home side. Half-time score – Pontypool 0 Aberavon 20.

Pooler made a better start to the second period and in the 43rd minute they were on the attack inside Aberavon’s 22. Following a lineout the Pooler pack drove towards the goal line and number eight Dan Hill powered over for a try to the right of the posts. Outside half Matthew Jarvis slotted the conversion (7-20). Two minutes later Pontypool broke out of defence and after some accurate passing, Joel Mahoney offloaded to Marcus Jones to put the right wing in the clear as he sprinted 30 metres to score a try near the posts. Matthew Jarvis added the extras (14-20). Pontypool were now back in the game with two quick scores and were asking questions of the Aberavon defence but the Wizards managed to absorb Pooler’s pressure. After 57 minutes Pontypool second row Lance Randall was replaced by Scott Matthews who went to number eight and Dan Hill moved up into the second row. Then, on the hour, home tight head prop Kelvyn Williams made way for debutant Luke Yendle and Mike Herbert took over from flanker Adam Stratton, who was making his 50th appearance for Pontypool.

In the 64th minute the home side were penalised at a ruck on their 22-metre line, 15 metres in from touch on Aberavon’s left and Aled Thomas increased his side’s lead with his third penalty goal of the afternoon to make it a two-score game (14-23). After 69 minutes Pontypool were pressing near the visitors’ line and eventually second row and captain-for-the-day Ashley Sweet managed to get the ball over the goal line for a try to the right of the posts. Matthew Jarvis obliged from the tee to make it an exciting finish to an absorbing game (21-23). With three minutes of normal time remaining Pontypool were penalised for not releasing 30 metres from their goal line in midfield and replacement outside half James Davies kicked the goal to give Aberavon a 5-point lead as injury time approached (21-26). Pontypool put everything into attempting to get that all-important fourth try but Aberavon’s defence was solid and held firm so it was the Wizards who came away with a deserved win, so congratulations to them. Pooler’s consolation was a losing bonus point. Final score – Pontypool 21 Aberavon 26.

Pontypool failed to capitalise on their fine victory against Swansea at St Helen’s last time out and they must be disappointed with their overall performance, particularly in the first half as Aberavon took advantage of Pooler’s mistakes. Pontypool must learn from this and try to put the wrongs right as there is a quick turn round to the next game which is against Carmarthen Quins, originally due for next Saturday but the trip to Carmarthen Park will now be on Thursday 11 January with a 7.30pm kick-off as the match will be televised live on S4C Clic. Pooler’s next home game will be on Saturday 20 January when Merthyr will be the welcome visitors to Pontypool Park, kick off will be the usual 2.30pm.

Pontypool: Josh Malson, Marcus Jones, Pat Lewis, Joel Mahoney, Amosa Nove, Matthew Jarvis, Morgan Lloyd, Sam Cochrane, Peter Lloyd, Kelvyn Williams (replaced by Luke Yendle), Lance Randall (replaced by Scott Matthews), Ashley Sweet (captain), Adam Stratton (replaced by Mike Herbert), Callum Davies and Dan Hill.

Aberavon: Scott Delveo, Frankie Jones, Callum Carson (replaced by Brad Roderick), Joe Gage (captain), Stef Andrews, Aled Thomas (replaced by James Davies), Liam Seaward (replaced by Scott Whitlock), Jordan Walters (replaced by Rowan Jenkins), Ellis Major (replaced by Cam Lewis), Chris Davies (replaced by Geraint James), Shay Smallman, Rhodri Hughes, Joe Tomalin-Reeves (replaced by Andrew Waite), Cameron Loveys (replaced by Billy Moxey) and Rhys Thomas.


Referee: Mr Craig Evans (Glynneath)

 

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Indigo Premiership

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