In his latest column club captain Scott Matthews reflects on the return to action after such a long time away and picking up maximum points on the opening weekend of the WRU Admiral National Championship season.
It was obviously a really epic day. It was good to be back at the Park. We wouldn’t want to be anywhere else than the Park on the first day back.
It was exciting to be there, see the gates open and the new stand looking ready to rumble and welcome the return of the Pooler supporters.
Before the game the nerves in myself and team was definitely there and it was fantastic to feel those butterflies again. You forget that little sensation when you’ve been out of the game so long so it was fantastic to have those feelings again.
It was nice to have our first fixture at home and it was fantastic to see over 1,000 Pooler supporters there and that’s exactly how it should be. The players and myself would just like to thank everyone who turned up to the first game and long may it continue and we hope it keeps growing as the season goes on.
It was definitely a brilliant way to start the season off. Just looking at the game, the nerves were probably on show early on.
In the first 15-20 minutes there was rustiness and just getting used to things again but I felt we weren’t far away from breaking down that defence.
Maesteg Harlequins RFC were a very organised, physical team and they are quite set-piece orientated so I thought in that respect we did really well.
Once we settled in the game it was good to see our style of rugby, the way we’ve been trying to train, started to show.
We didn’t take our chances in the first half but we managed to get two scores and it was nice to see some players back on form.
As the game went on we built into our shape and structure and we realised we needed to play a bit of rugby to break down that Quins defence.
The mindset was to win the game first and look to see what happens but after we settled in our pace, power and intent to play showed in the second half so it was pleasing that we managed to get the bonus point.
In the back of your mind you are thinking those bonus points are going to be vital come the end of the season.
It was disappointing to have the break the week after for myself. We have got a lot of injuries in the squad so from that point of view it was probably welcomed. But from my point of view as captain we’ve had 22 months out and to come back and have a week off, we just waited to keep playing.
After the final whistle I wanted to play another 80 minutes just because it was so good to be back on the field and play in front of the Pooler supporters.
Looking at that Neath RFC game it’s going to be another battle.
We’ve had some great battles down there in the past and I’m sure this week will be the same.
They are going to be one of the teams that will be in the race for the top spots at the end of the year so it’s good to have one of the better teams in the league early and see where we’re at as a squad.