12 March 2017 / Team News

Pooler hand out lesson to Emlyn


Such have been the vagaries of this rugby season that Emlyn arrived at Pontypool Park on Saturday having only played three League games and one Cup match since the middle of December. They had in fact not put on their red and white shirts for five weeks – hardly ideal preparation for a visit to a side who are not only unbeaten in the League but were smarting having only just lost last week in the mud of Cross Keys in the WRU Cup.

With ex-Dragons outside half Mathew Jones orchestrating matters from the number ten position the home side really put Emlyn through the ringer in the last twenty minutes of the first half as they seemed to score tries at will. The manner and ease with which they scored during this period boded ill for the visitors in the second half and the half time score of thirty six points to nil was nothing less than they deserved. To their credit Emlyn did sort out their defensive lines at half time and played a great deal better in the second half.

The first quarter of the game brought a hint of what was to come as the home side looked to spread the ball wide at every opportunity. It was only some desperate tackling by Emlyn and some poor handling by the home side that kept the score to nil. In fact the first score did not arrive until nearly half way through the half when Jones opened the scoring for the home side with a well struck penalty goal.

The floodgates opened then when, from the restart, some poor tackling by Emlyn allowed Pooler to make good ground down the right hand touchline and then a long pass by number eight Ben Sparks put their right winger Nathan Brooks away, and the speedy winger crossed for the first of his three tries in the corner. The speed and handling of the home side, allied with some poor tackling by Emlyn, led to further tries at regular intervals for hooker Alex Watkins, outside half Mathew Jones, another for Brooks, and second row Richard East, with Jones converting all four of them.

The second half was a completely different story as the red and whites competed against the home side. The early introduction of experienced number eight Luke Kendall, with Brynmor Jones moving to the flank, made a huge difference to the visitors. Their lack of game time,however, showed as a determined Pooler defence placed any Emlyn attack under a great deal of pressure causing the visitors time and again to lose possession in promising situations.

The first score of the half came after some twelve minutes when an Emlyn attack once again ended up in the ball being turned over and Pontypool moved the ball wide for powerful winger Rhodri Usher to round off an excellent move to score wide out. Brooks scored his third a couple of minutes later and the few supporters who had made the long trip up to Gwent were beginning to fear a try scoring rout.

Urged on by inspirational skipper Alex Williams the red and whites showed a great deal of character and began to dominate the match, belying the score. Pooler’s defence was not only solid but disciplined and any turn over ball was quickly used to counter attack. Further fresh legs from the Emlyn bench in the shape of Neil Elworthy, Bleddyn Davies, Mike Jones and Richard Hope brought some much needed energy to the Emlyn efforts.

Powerful bursts by Kendall, Joel James and Brynmor Jones time and again took play into the Pooler half as they sought a score to bring some respectability to the game. The sniping runs of replacement scrum half Mike Jones caused the home defence a few headaches but it seemed as if the score Emlyn desired was going to elude them.

 It took until the seventieth minute before Emlyn were able to get on the scoreboard and it came from a rather unexpected source. Awarded a penalty, Emlyn kicked to the corner and from the ensuing line out the forwards executed a perfect driving maul for flanker Brynmor Jones to be accredited with the score. A try normally associated with the home side. The home side were not to be out done though and had the final word when scrum half Aaron Quick crossed for the last try of the game converted by Jones.

Emlyn have another week off before they embark on the run in to the end of the season with three home and one away matches, starting with the first ever visit to Dol Wiber of Bedlinog on the 25th March. Last Saturday’s Championship results mean that Emlyn could do with winning at least one more game to ensure that they will be in the Championship next season.


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