Trebanos 24 Pontypool 27

Saturday 7th January 2017

WRU National Championship

Pooler Pack Power Prevails ... Just!

It was an historic, although somewhat surreal, moment watching the famous hoops of "Pooler" running out onto the Park at the start of this match; they were given a warm welcome by the large crowd, many of whom had travelled west to our little club, (aided by that wonder of the modern age, the satnav) to support their favourites.  The morning had been a mixture of sunshine and heavy showers, but the "Park" was in great condition.

Pontypool kicked off down the valley, and as expected 'Banos moved the ball between backs and forwards, probing for any gap in the visitors' defence, but got nothing other than full blooded tackling and failed to make too much headway moving the ball to the right and left.  Mr John, the referee, penalised the home side just inside their 10mtr line and up stepped Kieran Meek to put over a fine kick after just 4min play to take a 0-3 lead.

The visitors continued to play through their bigger forwards and when their backs attempted to run straight, they found the home tacklers resolute and organised.  Trebanos at this early stage were trying to run what ball they could and when Mr John penalised Pooler for a high tackle 6mtr inside the 'Banos half, Luke Griffiths calmly told Rhys Thomas that he'd have a crack at it, and a successful crack it was as the ball bisected the uprights to level the scores after 10min 3-3.

Pontypool continued with their tactics of using their larger pack to grind their way forward and it was a tremendous contest, seeing the home players bringing down their much bigger visitors time after time, during this period of play Visiting second row Brendan Lampitt was replaced by Rob Nash, who slotted in to the back row.  Pooler were awarded a penalty by Mr John on the home 10mtr line and kicked for touch, they then won their ball and rolled the maul over the line for hooker Ben Parry to touch down with Kieran Meek adding the conversion with a fine kick from the touch line for a lead 3-10 after half an hour's play.

Play had gone on for 45 min when Mr John penalised Twm Thomas for collapsing a rolling maul, and despatched him to the bin for his troubles; Pooler kicked for touch, won the ball and mauled the ball over the line for Ben Parry to notch his second try of the afternoon, with Kieran Meek adding the extra points for a halftime score of 3-17.

Half Time: Trebanos 3 Pontypool 17

The second half started where the first had finished with the Pontypool pack putting the seven man home pack under pressure and from a scrum some 10mtr out they turned the scrum allowing Rob Nash to dart over in the corner, conversion failing for a score of 3-22 after 9min of the second half.

Trebanos made two changes with Neil Elworthy replacing Alun Dew at tight head and Laurence Howley taking over at outside half from Lewis Humphries with the return of Twm Thomas from the bin and Declan Bale returning instead of replacement hooker, Chris Foreshaw.  They continued to run at every opportunity at their visitors and the pressure got to No 11 Jordan Thomas who received a yellow card for a tip tackle on his opposite number Sam Davies. It was Trebanos' turn to kick for the corner, and from the resultant lineout they mauled the ball across the line for Rhys Morgan to claim the try, with Luke Griffiths kicking the conversion to cut the lead to 10-22.

The next score was typical Trebanos with the ball being moved to the right then quickly back to the left for the outside centre to go outside the cover and score in the corner, the only problem was that it was the Pontypool side that had scored through centre Clayton Gullis to restore the lead to 10 - 27after 20min of the second half.

Trebanos, urged on by the vociferous faithful, somehow found another notch to raise their game and again took the fight to their illustrious opponents and were again awarded a penalty which was kicked to touch, and the resultant maul was moving to the try line when one of the Pooler backs joined from the side and brought it down.  Mr John immediately awarded a penalty try and despatched the offender to the bin, the score now being 17-27.

Pontypool went back on the attack and again moved the ball along their threequarter line; right wing Matthew Edwards anticipated the last pass and cleanly intercepted the ball and set off down field, he was chased by impressive No9 Martin Luckwell and was tackled on the Pooler 22mtr line. Pontypool were penalised at the tackle and quick thinking by supporting Luke Griffiths saw him tap the ball and race under the posts without a hand being laid on him for an easy conversion and with 10min left to play the score was 24-27.

Pontypool were now facing increasing pressure and, from a relieving kick, Sam Davies was taken in the air by a tackle which appeared more clumsy and mis-timed, than malicious by Jordan Thomas who was shown a second yellow, which became a red card.  This set back seemed to galvanise the Pontypool side who camped well into the home 22mtr area, but could not manage to break down the well organised and committed defence.  Mr John finally blew his whistle to the joy of the home fans who had seen their side take a bonus point from an incredible game.

Full Time: Trebanos 24 Pontypool 27

  Trebanos RFC
Luke Griffiths
Sam Davies
Lloyd Phillips
Steffan Lewis
Matthew Edwards
Lewis Humphries
Morgan Evans
Aled Humphries
Rhys Thomas (Capt.)
Alun Dew
Rhys Morgan
Declan Bale
Ben Williams
Rhodri Williams
Iwan Davies
Neil Elworthy (repl. Alun Dew, 50 mins)
Tyler Murvai
Chris Foreshaw (yellow card replacement)
Laurence Howley (repl. Lewis Humphries, 50m)
Tom Dew
Referee: Mr. Gareth John, Chepstow.

Today's other WRU National Championship Results:

Cardiff Met 32 Narberth 15
Glynneath 16 Bedlinog 13
Newbridge 24 Beddau 29
Newcastle Emlyn 24 Tata Steel 19
Rhydyfelin 20 Skewen 12