Tries: Lewis Weyman (1)
Penalties: Callum Jones (4)
Tries: Pat Lewis (1)
Penalties: Clayton Gullis (1)
Gallant Pooler lose at Bargoed
Pontypool will have to rely on other results going their way if they are to gain promotion to the Principality Premiership after going down to defeat at Bargoed Park. Pooler are seven points clear of RGC 1404 with The Gogs having two games to play – next Saturday at Cardiff Met and the following Saturday at Glynneath. If the North Walians win both games then they will be promoted but if they lose one and without getting two bonus points then it will be Pontypool going up.
Pontypool kicked off defending the new stand end of the ground. Within the first 90 seconds Pooler made a dream start when outside half Sam Mills made a long pass to left wing Pat Lewis, between Bargoed’s 10 metre line and 22, to put the highly-promising Lewis in the clear and he scored in the corner. The conversion failed (5-0). In the 5th minute Pooler centre Dan Robinson left the field with a blood injury and was temporary replaced by Tom Hancock. Bargoed were camped in Pooler’s 22 for a while and in the 12th minute the home side’s pressure was rewarded when No 8 Lewis Weyman barged over for an unconverted try in the right corner following a scrum five (5-5).
After 19 minutes play Pooler hooker and captain Ben Parry took a knock and had to leave the field with his arm in a sling. He was replaced by Aaron Coundley with loose head prop Jamie Jeune moving to hooker and debut-making Coundley went to prop. In the 28th minute Pooler were penalised for illegal use of the shoulder on their 22 to the right of the posts and home outside half Callum Jones slotted the kick at goal (5-8). After 34 minutes Bargoed were caught offside at a ruck in front of their posts and visiting full back Clayton Gullis brought the scores level again with a successful shot at goal (8-8). Three minutes later Pooler were guilty of side entry at a ruck inside their 22 in front of the posts and Callum Jones restored the home lead with his second penalty of the match (8-11). In the sixth minute of injury time Pontypool were penalised for handling in a ruck on Pooler’s 22 near the 15 metre line on Bargoed’s left and Callum Jones slotted the kick. Half time Bargoed 14 Pontypool 8.
Four minutes into the second period Bargoed were guilty of deliberately wheeling a scrum 15 metres in from Pooler’s left on Bargoed’s 10 metre line but Clayton Gullis was wide with his attempt at goal. Pooler then made a couple of changes - in the 68th minute Matthew Thomas replaced flanker Gareth Rusby-Davies and three minutes later scrum half Aaron Quick made way for Rhys Dyer. With a little over five minutes remaining Pooler were penalised for a high tackle in midfield 38 metres from their goal line and Callum Jones made the game safe for his side with another successful shot at goal (8-17). Pooler outside half Sam Mills then made way for Tom Hancock late in the game but Bargoed sealed a deserved win and with it promotion to the Principality Premiership.
This was tough on Pooler as the players gave it their all but it wasn’t to be. With Pooler only winning one (at champions-elect Merthyr) and drawing one (home to last season’s champions Bargoed) of the eight matches against their four rivals for promotion, then perhaps it could be argued that Pontypool didn’t perform well enough against their fellow challengers.
Pontypool: Clayton Gullis, Josh Hurley, Dan Robinson, Sione Tu’ipulotu, Pat Lewis, Sam Mills (replaced by Tom Hancock), Aaron Quick (replaced by Rhys Dyer), Jamie Jeune, Ben Parry (captain) (replaced by Aaron Coundley), Garin Harris, Adam Brown, Derryn Jones, Gareth Rusby-Davies (replaced by Matthew Thomas), Rob Nash, Ben Sparks.