Pontypool RFC fly-half Matthew Lewis says the club is ready to kick on ahead of the end of season run in. The stand-off, 20, believes the club's supporters will see a greater intensity from the team over the next couple of months, as the squad chase a third consecutive WRU National Championship title, promotion back to the Principality Premiership and success in the WRU National Cup.
Due to various reasons, the club have played just three games so far this calendar year, but their fixture away to Maesteg Harlequins this weekend will begin a run of eight confirmed games in nine weeks. Following a serious injury to experienced fly-half, Matthew Jones, in October, Lewis has enjoyed a sustained run in the side and has helped guide the team to notable victories away to Narberth RFC in the league, Cross Keys RFC in the National Cup, as well as home league triumphs against Cardiff Met RFC and Ystrad Rhondda RFC.
"I wasn't expecting to start as many games I have," said Lewis. "I always knew I would have to bide my time at a new club and try to make an impression. The injury to Matthew was extremely unfortunate, but when the opportunity came to enjoy a run in the side, I was determined to show what I could do.
"I feel as though I have taken my opportunity and contributed to what we have achieved over the last couple of months. It has been hugely beneficial for me to play alongside the likes of Martin Luckwell and Kieran Meek. They talk a lot on the pitch and are both experienced at this level. They have undoubtedly helped me settle in," said Lewis.
The club's last fixture saw them defeat Newcastle Emlyn RFC 36-24 at Pontypool Park. The bonus point victory saw the fired-up visitors produce a highly commendable performance, as they pushed Leighton Jones' men all the way. The performance was deemed not acceptable by the home club and this weekend's visit to South Parade, the club's first to Maesteg Harlequins, is sure to see an improved performance from Pooler.
"It has been tough to reach our desired intensity levels so far in 2019 with so few games being played," said Lewis. "However, with the games now coming thick and fast, we know we must step up to the plate and start to build some momentum between now and May."
The victory over Newcastle Emlyn was also notable for the return of Matthew Jones. The player-coach came on as a second-half replacement for Geraint Walsh, making his 50th appearance for the club and his first for almost five months, following the aforementioned injury picked up against Narberth RFC in early October.
Jones, who hails from Maesteg, is looking forward to playing at his local club for the first time in his career. "Most people will know Maesteg, from a rugby point of view, for Maesteg RFC and the Old Parish. However, Maesteg Harlequins have been progressing through the leagues over the last eight years and thoroughly deserve to be competing in the Championship this season," said Jones.
"I have a lot of friends who play for the senior side. It will be a strange experience to be playing against my local team, but there will be no split loyalties on Saturday. We know we have a job to do and will come up against an extremely motivated Quins side.
"As a club, they are really looking forward to hosting a team of Pontypool's standing and it will be an afternoon to remember for not only the club, but the area as a whole," said Jones.