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Drake and Pooler look to make history as 2018 draws to a close

Thursday 20th December 2018

Last weekend's fixture against Beddau RFC was played in conditions that don't come along all that often. The rain was fairly relentless at Pontypool Park, but I know the boys were proud to produce the sort of dominant performance that saw us record a 45-6 victory.

It was a day for the pack to step up and give the team an element of control as both sides battled not only each other, but also the elements. Although I'm a proud member of the front-row union, I couldn't help but admire some of the backs' play on Saturday. In particular, Jordan Thomas' through the legs pass for Joel Mahoney's second score was a memorable bit of skill, as we showed we could still play some nice rugby in atrocious conditions.

Despite conditions underfoot, we didn't make any special plans as to how we would approach the scrum against Beddau. We stuck to the plans and ideas that we formulate during the week that can then be put into practice on the Saturday. Every scrum is different, regardless of the conditions, so we try to not get too caught up in what the weather is doing - even when you're playing in a storm with its own name!

The Beddau game was my 11th appearance of the season for the club. I missed the club's away victory at Trebanos in November due to my Mother's wedding, but I like to play every game that I'm available for. You only have a finite time playing rugby and I would hate to be watching from the sidelines when I could be playing and developing.

You are looked after extremely well by the club and I would like to think that I repay that with my dedication on and off the field of play. Part of the help you receive is in your continued development as a rugby player. Since arriving from Usk RFC in 2016, I would like to think my speed of play has improved as well as my scrummaging. That has been made possible due to the coaching I have received from not only the coaching staff, but also my fellow players.

The squad is looking forward to finishing 2018 with a short journey to Newbridge RFC. The tradition of playing a near neighbour before Christmas is one I enjoy and after defeating them 46-18 back in September, we will arrive at The Welfare Ground looking to complete the double over them.

A victory on Saturday would also ensure we finish the calendar year unbeaten in the league. You can't get too caught up in personal or collective accomplishments, but to reach that milestone would be an unbelievable achievement. Regardless of what result we achieve on Saturday, it will not distract us from aiming to carry our success into 2019 and beyond.

Ollie Drake was speaking to Andrew Deering.


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