GLAMORGAN WANDERERS 14
“You have to feel for the players, they are putting in massive effort but once again little mistakes are costing us dearly” said a disappointed manager Luke Burton. “At least other results didn’t alter the equation of survival”
“We should have capitalised on our dominance in the first half. I think that the second try to bring them level seemed to sap the confidence from the players” added coach Matthew Bolton.
On a lovely spring like afternoon at the Memorial ground the visitors had early chances. The Wanderers transgressed at a series of rucks but Clayton Gullis failed with early shots at goal. The home side started to find their feet and with their first meaningful attack they went ahead. Josh Hurley, who proved a handful all afternoon, made ground into the Pontypool half and when the move broke down the referee awarded a penalty and yellow carded one of the Pontypool back row for an off the ball incident. Ianto Griffiths stepped up and put the home side ahead 3-0. The home side grew in confidence and by keeping the pace of the game high they found plenty of spaces in the Pontypool defence. With Griffiths kicking out of hand well the visitors were pinned back in their own half. Mike Stephens set up good field position with a break and as pressure mounted a driving lineout provided Rhys Jenkins with the chance to score. Griffiths missed the conversion but the Wanderers were in control 8-0. It was all Wanderers at this stage but when chances came along they were guilty of not finishing them off. The visitors finally gained a chance and they took it well. A missed tackle in midfield let them through and after a couple of phases Josh Guy crashed over. Gullis converted and despite having little play Pontypool were back in it at 8-7. Back came the Wanderers after more good work by Stephens, Alex Luff went close only to see his pass intercepted on the line. Ryan Davies and Dave Ellis also went close before half time but on each occasion good defence from the visitors prevented a score. Griffiths did extend the lead with his second penalty but despite the dominance the home side had to take a slender 11-7 lead into the break.
The Wanderers were forced into a change with the influential Stephens being replaced by Owen Marshall at half time but they maintained their momentum and Griffiths extended the lead with his third penalty 14-7. All seemed comfortable for the home side but as has happened so often this season a lapse from a kick off set them back. A charged down kick when there was little pressure caused the ball to go loose and Sam Mills pounced to score. Gullis converted and all of a sudden Pontypool were back on level terms at 14-14. The incident seemed to suck the confidence from the home side and in turn galvanised the visitors. Controlling the ball well they exerted pressure on the home side defence and the Wanderers were left to play from deep. The sharpness that the home side demonstrated early on slipped and when chances arose the Pontypool defence grew in confidence. Gullis broke the deadlock with his first penalty of the game and the Wanderers were forced to chase the game. The cavalry were summoned but however hard they tried the home side could not break the visitor’s defence down. Pontypool had chances to extend the lead but they too could not convert their opportunities. As the game entered its final moments Josh Hurley broke from deep and after eluding several defenders he took play into the Pontypool half. The move broke down but the Wanderers were awarded a penalty. With no time to win the game left Griffiths stepped up only to see his kick drift past the post and award the win to Pontypool as their revival continues. Final score Wanderers 14 Pontypool 17.