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Mixed feelings for Jones after Pontypridd victory

Sunday 22nd October 2023

Leighton Jones was pleased to see the good form continue with a bonus-point victory over Pontypridd but was left frustrated as errors and ill-discipline plagued his side.

Pooler dived over the whitewash five times to secure a fifth league win in six games, however, the scoreline remained close until the final passages of play.

It was the visitors who took the lead early on through a Josh Phillips penalty but captain Scott Matthews touched down and Matthew Jarvis added the conversion and two penalties.

A well-worked Pontypridd move then saw McCauley Rowley go over with Phillips converting right on the stroke of half time.

Pooler looked to pull away in the second half as a quick-tap penalty helped Morgan Lloyd over the line and Jarvis was on hand to fire over the conversion.

Phillips hit back with another penalty but Walker Price extended Pooler’s lead when he capitalised on an error to grab his second try of the season. Jarvis, again, converted.

The visitors refused to give in and hauled themselves back into the game through Joe Miles. A Phillips conversion and penalty reduced to the deficit to just four points with 10 minutes left.

Replacement front row duo Ollie Drake and Dylan Kelleher-Griffiths swung the game in Pooler’s favour with late tries that were both converted by Jarvis, while Rob Jones’ touched down in the final seconds for Pontypridd.

Jones was pleased to see his side pick up maximum points but was frustrated that his side were unable to make their territory and possession dominance count and pull away earlier.

“We did some nice things out there,” he explained.

“The conditions were perfect for us. Overall it is pleasing to get five points at home against a tough team.

“We had both forwards and backs going over the line. There was a mix of scorers and styles.

“If we are looking at ourselves, we played some nice stuff but a few errors and costly penalties have allowed them into the territory to score and we’ll definitely be looking at where we can get better.

“Arguably we left one or two tries out there.

“When you look at their squad and some of the ex-professionals they have, they are never going to roll over and die, they are not that sort of team.

“Where we have to look at ourselves is that we’ve had them under the pump and got a bit of a lead but we’ve not kept our foot on the throat and allowed them back in with some errors.

“That is one area where we have to get better. When we have teams under the pump, we’ve got to keep them there.”

Despite those frustrations, the win keeps Pontypool in third place, just three points behind leaders Ebbw Vale.

“It’s a good position to be in, five wins from six games but there is a lot that we can get better at,” Jones added.

“The boys’ mood in the circle at the end wasn’t all smiles.

“There were a few boys who were disappointed with some of the things that happened.

“Some boys spoke their thoughts and we are going to look at ourselves and look to get better but it is pleasing that it is being led by the boys.”


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