“We struggled to match their power up front and when starved of possession it was always going to be a tough ask” commented Martyn Fowler “As we somewhat predicted the relegation fight is going down to the wire”
On a heavy pitch the rugby certainly did not give the expectant crowd much to cheer as Pontypool ground out a victory to seal a deserved Championship title. Using the power of their pack they starved the Wanderers of possession and territory and the visitors were reduced to living off scraps as they strove to get something out of the game. Early exchanges set the tone with Pooler driving off their lineout and the Wanderers forced into more and more desperate defence. A try from a lineout set the home side on the course for the title and the Wanderers task was made even more difficult when influential centre James Loxton left the field after a head injury. The game became a little stuck in the mud as Pooler showed a little nervousness with the title in their grasp and the Wanderers were unable to create anything meaningful. The visitors were further hampered by the loss of Ellis Rudder for 10 minutes after a deliberate knock on and then John Preedy, on as a replacement for Loxton was forced off with another head in jury. The home side added a second try before half time and the sides went in at 10-0.
The second half followed the pattern of the first with control in the hands of the home side and the limited possession providing the Wanderers with few chances. The visitor’s attacks had to be mounted from deeper and deeper. The Wanderers did have a spell of pressure with a stream of penalties against the home side and Luke Fish kicked a penalty to give the travelling Massiv some hope but a penalty from the home side restored the 10 point cushion and very soon normal service was resumed. The game slowed in the last quarter with very little to excite anyone watching and Pooler increased their lead with a second penalty 16-3. With the Championship in the bag the game ground to a halt and the home side scored their third try at the death to claim the win and the title. Final score 23-3
Penalty: Luke Fish
Massiv man of the match: Michael Owen