Gareth Betts admitted it was nice to reach 50 appearances for Pontypool after his surprise inclusion against TATA Steel RFC on Friday night.
The strength and conditioning coach was a late call-up for Pooler’s trip west in the WRU Admiral National Championship after a last-minute withdrawal.
He was named on the bench and replaced Owain Leonard in the 72nd minute to reach a half-century of appearances, 14 years and 318 days after his 49th game against Rumney RFC in 2008.
Pooler had already secured the win by the time of his introduction.
Mathew Powell, Mike Herbert and Adam Brown all touched down within half hour. Captain Scott Matthews added a double before the break with Dai Langdon converting all five.
Langdon bagged a try himself after the restart, Pooler’s 100th in the league this season, before a Ieuan Jones brace and an effort from Huw Anderson had Pooler 57-0 up by the time Betts was introduced.
Joel Mahoney rounded off the scoring in the last few minutes to ensure Pooler picked up all five points and maintained the control in the race for promotion.
“It was a bit of a surprise to be honest,” said ex-scrum half Betts.
“It’s nice to do, it’s nice to hit 50 and what a great squad and pack to play behind so it’s a bit of an armchair ride.
“It was nice to have a bit of fun with the boys in what has been a good season so far and hopefully we can round it off well.
“I found out in the morning, one of the boys had to pull out and one of the comments on the WhatsApp was ‘I haven’t got the minerals’ so it was a bit of a point that I had to do it.
“I had to man up and show what I can still do, I was a bit nervous, actually, at the start but once you are on there you don’t forget.
“It’s just a matter of bossing people around and when the ball comes just doing what’s natural and what you’ve been taught over the years.
“That [smiling] is what it’s all about.
“I think that’s one of the great factors of this season.
“I can’t highlight enough how great a squad this is, the environment is absolutely fantastic and we have all got to remember and enjoy where we are.
“I know we are looking to the Premiership but these occasions don’t happen often and we’re in a really good place in the league, hopefully we will win that cup and that’s what these memories are all about for me."
Despite enjoying a rare run out on the pitch, Betts was quick to state his playing days are definitely behind him.
“It was lovely to get on but it was just an armchair ride, it was just nice to be a part of the boys and set up a lovely weekend,” he said.
“I could do 20 minutes, especially behind this pack but my days are gone.
“I’ll just stick with my training and keeping the boys fit, energised and happy.
“I know my place.”
Head coach Leighton Jones expressed his delight at being able to give Betts the chance to reach 50 appearances for the club but stressed it was a last-resort option due to absentees in the squad.
“It was just one of them things,” he said.
“The coaching group here is quite young, they’ve not been retired that long.
“With the team we have and the pack of forwards we had on the field, he was only ever going to be a last option cover.
“It was nice to get him on. At the end of the day he’s played here before in the past and he got to 49 appearances so it was nice for him to get that 50th.”