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Match PreviewMatch Report
26 - 48 HT 7 - 36 Friday 08th March 2024 / 7:30pm Kick Off
Referee: Adam Jones (Brecon)
Pontypool RFC

Pontypool RFC

Tries by Morgan Lloyd (3) and Sam Scarfe .

Conversions by Matthew Jarvis (3).

Llandovery RFC

Llandovery RFC

Tries by Kian Abraham (3), Taylor Davies (2), Jac Davies, Aaron Warren and Adam Warren.

Conversions by Ioan Hughes (3) and Jack Maynard.

26 - 48 HT 7 - 36 Friday 08th March 2024 / 7:30pm Kick Off
Indigo Premiership
Referee: Adam Jones (Brecon)







Classy Llandovery proved too strong for plucky Pooler in entertaining encounter

Llandovery, leaders of the Indigo Premiership, were the welcome visitors to Pontypool Park on Friday in front of the S4C Clic cameras and, in a scintillating first half, stunned Pontypool by scoring six tries to Pooler’s one as the Drovers proved to be by far the best side in the top flight of Welsh club rugby, writes Ray Ruddick.

Llandovery kicked off attacking the scoreboard end of the ground on a fine and dry but a little chilly and breezy evening. The visitors struck as early as the third minute when they were on the attack inside the home 22 and centre Rhodri Jones put in a grubber kick towards the right corner. The ball crossed the goal line and right wing Kian Abraham won the race to the touchdown. The conversion attempt struck the outside of the left post (0-5). Six minutes later the Drovers were again on the offensive and, after several drives towards the Pooler goal line, the ball was moved right and full back Jac Davies dived over for a try, 5 metres in from the right corner. The conversion attempt went across the face of the posts (0-10). In the 13th minute Llandovery were playing with tempo and confidence and, after some fine passing, Kian Abraham crossed for a try behind the posts and outside half Ioan Hughes converted (0-17).

However, in the 18th minute Pooler replied when, the home side had a scrum feed on their right near the visitors’ goal line and after a powerful run by centre Joel Mahoney, the ball was recycled and hooker Sam Scarfe powered over for a try to the right of the posts. This score was converted by outside half Matthew Jarvis (7-17). On the half hour Llandovery were applying pressure inside the home 22 and tested the Pooler defence. The pressure soon told and left wing Aaron Warren burrowed over for the bonus-point try, 15 metres in from the left corner, which was converted by Ioan Hughes (7-24). With five minutes to go to the interval, Llandovery secured turn-over ball near their 10-metre line and Aaron Warren was in the clear along the left flank and sprinted 60 metres before giving the scoring pass to his brother, centre Adam Warren to touch down under the posts. Ioan Hughes added the extras (7-31). In the 37th minute Llandovery scored again following some fine handling and passing when Kian Abraham crossed for his try hat trick, 15 metres in from the right corner. The conversion failed. Half-time score – Pontypool 7 Llandovery 36.

Pooler started the second period well and in the third minute they took play into Llandovery’s 22. The visitors were penalised in front of their posts. Pooler scrum half Morgan Lloyd took a quick tap penalty and darted over for a try to the right of the posts. Matthew Jarvis added the extras (14-36). Pontypool were now on the front foot and three minutes later went on the attack and, after several phases play was near the visitors’ goal line. Morgan Lloyd saw a gap on the blind side and scampered over in the left corner for his try brace. The difficult conversion failed but Pooler were now back in the game (19-36). In the 54th minute Pooler then made a change when second row Lewis Johnson was replaced by debutant Izzak Kelly, a Canadian international who has linked up with the Dragons.

Despite Pontypool’s positive start to the second half, they couldn’t capitalise as Llandovery managed to stem Pooler’s threat and, in the 56th minute the visitors stretched their lead when their pack drove powerfully towards the home line following a lineout deep inside the home 22 and replacement hooker Taylor Davies managed to get the ball down on the goal line in the left corner. This try was converted by replacement fly half Jack Maynard (19-43). Then the whole of the Pooler front row was changed when Marc Thomas, Peter Lloyd and Ollie Drake replaced Dylan Kelleher-Griffiths, Sam Scarfe and Kelvyn Williams respectively. On the hour mark Adam Stratton replaced Callum Davies in the back row for the home side. Two minutes later Llandovery’s replacement prop Berian Watkins was yellow-carded at a ruck near half way. With just a little under a quarter-of-an-hour remaining Ben Moa took over from number eight and captain Scott Matthews and left wing Marcus Jones made way for Tye Davies for Pooler.

In the 70th minute Pooler full back Matt Bancroft fielded a relieving kick near the left touchline just inside Llandovery’s half and passed inside to centre Pat Lewis. A ruck was formed near the visitors’ 10-metre line and Morgan Lloyd picked up, saw a gap, dummied and raced 40 metres to score his hat trick and his side’s bonus-point try to the left of the posts. Matthew Jarvis was on target with another two points with an easy conversion (26-43). However, that was the last action for the impressive young scrum half as he was replaced by Owain Leonard. With five minutes remaining Llandovery got the final score of the evening when, from another powerful driving line-out deep inside Pontypool’s 22, Taylor Davies scored a try, his second, 10 metres in from the left corner. The conversion attempt struck the outside of the left upright (26-48). In the final minute Llandovery were attacking inside Pooler’s half and kicked past Matt Bancroft, but he took out the visiting player late and was shown the yellow card. Final score – Pontypool 26 Llandovery 48.

This was a classy performance by the Drovers who are in a rich vein of form at the moment and showed that they are dangerous in any part of the field. They looked very sharp, clinical and well organised and it will take some team to lower their colours. From Pooler’s viewpoint, it was a very difficult first half but they came back well in the second period and ‘won’ the second half 19-12. The next Indigo Premiership game for Pooler will be on Saturday 23 March when they travel to The Gnoll to take on old friends Neath and the next home match will be on the following Saturday when traditional rivals Bridgend will be the welcome visitors to Pontypool Park. Both matches will kick-off at 2.30pm.

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

Llandovery: Jac Davies, Kian Abraham, Adam Warren, Rhodri Jones, Aaron Warren (replaced by Harri Doel), Ioan Hughes (replaced by Jack Maynard), Lee Rees (replaced by Daf Land), Dino Dallavalle (replaced by Jamie Hughes), Craig Thomas (replaced by Taylor Davies), Llyr Green (replaced by Berian Watkins), Jack Jones (captain), Chris Long (replaced by Joe Powell), Osian Davies, Stuart Worrall and Nathan Hart (replaced by Marco Dallavalle).


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