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Roles reversed as Jarvis boots Pooler into final

Sunday 02nd April 2023

Four years ago, Matthew Jarvis kicked a last-minute penalty in Ebbw Vale that denied Pontypool a place in the WRU National Cup final, at the expense of Merthyr.

It was, perhaps, fate that the outside half returned to the scene of the ‘crime’ but this time Pontypool felt the benefit of his boot as he notched 16 points against Neath to book a place in the WRU Championship final.

The 32-year-old was in fine form from the tee, kicking four penalties and two conversions at the CiNER Glass Community Stadium to secure a date with Ystrad Rhondda in three weeks’ time.

Garin Price and Deon Smith both touched down as Pontypool bagged a deserved third win of the season against the Welsh All Blacks, who, once again, proved to be stern opposition.

Jarvis, who was born in Neath, admitted his part in Pooler’s cup demise all those years ago has been a frequent narrative in the build-up to the game.

“I’ve had a few people come up to me and say that,” said Jarvis, who won the cup with Merthyr in 2018.

“It’s a long time ago now.

“The focus has been on this big game, Neath are a good side and it could have gone either way out there.

“Going in 6-0 at half time, with that wind I felt like we didn’t have enough points but I know we’ve got that togetherness and that game plan.

“We went into the second half and it came to fruition, especially when we looked to spread it and played with a bit of tempo.

“We scored a nice try at the end as well.

“It’s a great victory, two good sides and the support from the fans was outstanding.

“Every week they are there. As a squad we appreciate their support and it gives us that little edge and it was massive today on the bank and in the stand.

“From all the squad I would just like to thank them.”

The supporters were not the only people Jarvis was appreciative of.

With a lot of rainfall in the days before the game, there were concerns that the fixture would not go ahead.

However, the Ebbw Vale ground staff worked tirelessly and right up until kick-off to ensure the semi-final went ahead.

“In fairness to Ebbw Vale, we need to thank them,” he said.

“The conditions this week have been horrendous.

“The ground was great, the ground staff worked tirelessly, they were out before the game.

“We can thank them for hosting this game.

“It was a great crowd, the pitch was fine, it didn’t really dig up that much.

“They put a lot of sand down, which helped.

“We’re grateful to Ebbw Vale for hosting and the pitch was great.”

The cup will now have to take a back seat with a couple of league fixtures to play before the trip to Cardiff and focus will have to shift quickly.

“We’re just taking it week by week,” affirmed Jarvis.

“We’ve got a big couple of weeks, we’ve got Glamorgan Wanderers next week and then we go up to Bargoed.

“It’s back to league action, the bread and butter.”


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