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Match PreviewMatch Report
20 - 13 HT 10 - 8 Saturday 17th February 2024 / 2:30pm Kick Off
Referee: Rhys Jones (Pencoed)
Pontypool RFC

Pontypool RFC

Tries by Morgan Lloyd and Peter Lloyd.

Conversions by Matthew Jarvis (2).

Penalties by Matthew Jarvis (2).

Cardiff RFC

Cardiff RFC

Tries by Dewi Cross (2).

Penalty by Harrison James.

20 - 13 HT 10 - 8 Saturday 17th February 2024 / 2:30pm Kick Off
Indigo Premiership
Referee: Rhys Jones (Pencoed)

Tries

22

Conversions

20

Penalties

21
 

Improved Pooler gained well-deserved double over Cardiff in hard-fought battle

Pontypool welcomed Cardiff to Pontypool Park for an Indigo Premiership match on Saturday looking for the season’s double as Pooler took the spoils at Cardiff Arms Park on 28 October with a late try, writes Ray Ruddick. The last double Pooler achieved over the capital city club was way back in the highly successful 1987-88 season when Pontypool won both home and away games as well as a titanic battle in the quarter-final of the WRU Cup so for Pooler to claim this season’s double is quite an achievement. This 20-13 success is Pontypool’s fourth consecutive victory over Cardiff as Pooler defeated the Blue and Blacks 42-33 in a superb WRU Cup clash at the Arms Park on 18 February 2017 and the last league game prior to this season was a 32-13 Pooler win at Pontypool Park on 3 March 2012.

Before kick-off Pontypool RFC paid tribute, with a minute’s applause, to two of its former players who had passed away in January – one of the club’s greatest-ever players Malcolm Price, who played for Wales and the British Lions (1959) in rugby union as well as representing Great Britain in rugby league died on 7 January and John Harris, a back row forward and co-author of the club’s official history ‘Pontypool’s Pride’, passed away three days later.

Cardiff kicked off in their changed strip of predominantly red jerseys attacking the scoreboard end on a very wet, grey and miserable but mild afternoon with rain falling during most of the match, which made playing conditions tricky. It was the visitors who opened the scoring in the sixth minute when they were in possession between Pooler’s 10-metre line and 22, made a break and left wing Dewi Cross scored an unconverted try in the left corner (0-5). Three minutes later Cardiff were penalised, 5 metres inside their half to the right of the posts but the attempt at goal went wide. Midway through the first half Pooler second row Dan Hill took a knock and was replaced by Lewis Johnson. In the 24th minute the visitors were penalised at a retreating scrum on their 22 in front of the posts and home outside half Matthew Jarvis slotted the attempt at goal (3-5).

In the 33rd minute Pooler took a strike against the head at a scrum inside Cardiff’s 22. Number eight Scott Matthews picked up from the base and drove forward and just before getting tackled, managed to feed Morgan Lloyd for the scrum half to glide over for a try behind the posts. Matthew Jarvis added the extras as Pooler took the lead (10-5). Two minutes later Pontypool were penalised at a maul inside their 22 to the left of the posts and Cardiff’s outside half Harrison James kicked the goal to reduce the deficit to two points in a very tight first half. Half time score – Pontypool 10 Cardiff 8.

Both sides seemed to cancel each other out in the third quarter of the game with little to choose between them and no score registered. In the 52nd minute Pooler loose head prop Marc Thomas made was for Dylan Kelleher-Griffiths and just before the hour mark Kelvyn Williams took over from tight head prop Ollie Drake. In the 61st minute Cardiff were caught off-side on their 10-metre line, 15 metres in from touch on Pooler’s right and Matthew Jarvis did well to kick the goal, despite slipping in the process (13-8). In the 70th minute Ben Moa took over from Mike Herbert in the Pooler back row. Seven minutes later Pontypool were on the attack driving up the middle of the pitch and took play inside Cardiff’s 22. Morgan Lloyd chipped over the top and the Cardiff defender failed to gather as Pooler’s Mathew Powell put him under pressure and home hooker Peter Lloyd was on hand to pick up and dived over for a try, 10 metres in from the right corner. Matthew Jarvis obliged from the tee (20-8). Going into injury time Pooler made their final four changes when Mathew Powell, Morgan Lloyd, Peter Lloyd and Ashley Sweet were replaced by Tye Davies, Owain Leonard, Jack Gillard and Will Gregory respectively. However, there was still time for Cardiff to hit back and get a losing bonus point as, with the last play of the game, play was inside Pooler’s 22 with Cardiff in possession and a kick through towards the left corner took the ball over the goal line and Dewi Cross won the race to the touchdown for a try which went unconverted to make the final score Pontypool 20 Cardiff 13.

This was a much improved all-round performance by Pontypool in difficult conditions so well done to all concerned. Cardiff came to Pontypool Park with 10-point buffer in fourth place in the table so it was a stern test for the home side who had registered only one win in the past six matches and having lost their last three. The efficient and effective Pontypool pack, ably led by skipper Scott Matthews, had the better over their opponents and young scrum half Morgan Lloyd looked threatening. It was good to see the return of wing Mathew Powell after a 9-month lay-off through injury and loose head prop Dylan-Kelleher-Griffiths also made a welcome return from injury as veteran second row Ashley Sweet made his 50th Pooler appearance. This victory will give the Pontypool squad confidence going into the next game, which isn’t until Friday 8th March when league leaders Llandovery visit Pontypool Park which will be live on S4C Clic, with a 7.30pm kick-off.

Pontypool: Matt Bancroft, Marcus Jones, Pat Lewis, Joel Mahoney, Mathew Powell (replaced by Tye Davies), Matthew Jarvis, Morgan Lloyd (replaced by Owain Leonard), Marc Thomas (replaced by Dylan Kelleher-Griffiths), Peter Lloyd (replaced by Jack Gillard), Ollie Drake (replaced by Kelvyn Williams), Dan Hill (replaced by Lewis Johnson), Ashley Sweet (replaced by Will Gregory), Mike Herbert (replaced by Ben Moa), Callum Davies and Scott Matthews (captain).

Cardiff: Joe Goodchild, James Beal, Luke Pollock, Arron Pinches, Dewi Cross, Harrison James, Tom Habberfield, Cam Tylergrocott, Alun Rees, Christian Brooke, Sean Moore, Ethan Phillips, Craig Hudd, Nathan Hudd and Morgan Allen (captain). Replacements: Jamie Goldsworthy, Eddie Drake, Adam Williams, Evan Rees, Ioan Pascoe, Joe Williams, Jacob Lloyd and Tom Hughes.

 

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