“Pooler” power proves too much for Wanderers
“Immensely proud of the effort and commitment the squad showed” Commented backs coach Darren Gibbon “In a perverse sort of way restricting Pontypool to 24 points was a success!”
“I’ll take some criticism for not kicking the penalties early in the game” added captain Aaron Fowler “but I knew if we were going to compete we had to score tries and we threw everything at Pontypool but their defence was tremendous”.
“If we can keep that level of performance we can ask no more” Marth Fowler.
On a grey afternoon the dye was set early on, Pontypool with their strong pack were going to dominate possession and territory and the Wanderers would have to dig deep to stem the “Pooler” tide. From a penalty on the halfway they set up good field position and a well executed catch and drive steamrollered the home side pack over to record the first try of the day 0-5. The Wanderers responded brightly. Despite a reversing scrum they maintained the ball and went through the phases forcing the visitors into conceding a penalty. Despite the easy 3 points on offer Aaron Fowler elected for the kick to the corner but despite an attack of several phases the Pontypool line could not be breached. Another penalty was declined soon afterwards but the result was the same and the solid defence gained the upper hand and the ball was cleared. Normal service was then resumed with the visitors dominating and the home side defence having to dig deep. Playing the heavy conditions well Pontypool pounded the Wanderers backwards but they had to wait until just before the half hour mark until they could extend the lead. Once again a penalty gave them good field position and another well executed drive resulted in a second try 0-10. Following the score the Wanderers had a short spell on the attack. A superb aerial take from James Loxton set him on a run but despite taking play deep into the Pooler 22 the Wanderers could not convert the chance. The home side were probably guilty of trying to play too much with ball in hand and the more experienced visitors played the conditions well controlling the tempo and not allowing the home side any foothold in the game. On the stroke of halftime Pontypool extend their lead. Once again the pack were the providers as a catch and drive, although defended well at first allowed them to break clear and trundle over for the third try. This was converted and the sides went into the break at 0-17.
Conditions deteriorated with a steady drizzle descending on the game. The game continued with Pontypool dominating the ball. The Wanderers task was made even more difficult when after a heated discussion about when your Christmas decorations should be put up Ryan Matthew saw yellow. With an 8 man scrum the day was already proving a struggle but with only 7 in the pack a fourth try was inevitable when the visitors were awarded a scrum near the Wanderers line. This bonus point try was converted to make the score 0-24. Both sides started to empty their benches as the home side strove to find a score to give the “Massiv” something to cheer but the visitors defence was not going to budge. A rare visit to the Pooler 22 was thwarted by a penalty for sealing off at a ruck and the visitors cleared their lines. Pontypool strove to extend their lead but the Wanderers, not for the first time this season, showed great resilience in the last quarter and with the young flankers Callun James and Lloyd Pike working tirelessly in defence they managed to snuff out attack after attack. The mud started to make players a little difficult to identify in the dying minutes but the Wanderers emptied their tanks in defence and restricted Pontypool to no further scores. A well deserved and controlled performance form the league leaders as they head into a huge game against Bargoed next week and the Wanderers head to Bedwas to face another unbeaten side looking for some early Christmas cheer. Final score 0-24.
Wanderers Management man of the match: Lloyd Pike
Massiv man of the match: Lloyd Pike