2007/2008 Konica Minolta Cup
Pontypool 13 v 62 Cardiff
15 December 2007 - Pontypool Park, Pontypool

Match Report

Pontypoool 13 Cardiff 62

The game was won and lost in the first 18 minutes as the Blue & Blacks blitzed Pooler with a three- try opening to establish a 22-3 lead. After that, there was an opportunity to go through several training ground drills, especially from the set-pieces, as Cardiff cruelly exposed the yawning gap between the top two divisions of the club game.

The captaincy for the day was handed to Gavin Lucas, a nice touch for a stalwart back-rower who had been club captain at Pontypool two years ago. Now he led from the front against his old side and was particularly prominent in the lineouts as his team dominated possession. Alongside him was the squad's latest recruit, open-side flanker Richie Pugh and his contribution was particularly telling at the breakdown and in the loose in the second-half.

It was always likely to be a case of the longer the game went on, the more dominant would be the Premiership club blessed with superior skills and fitness levels. Even so, the one-sided start was a major surprise to the home faithful. Though Craig Evans and centre Phil Price exchanged penalty goals, both awarded for ruck infringements, in the first five minutes, it was soon apparent that Cardiff were intent to scoring a hatful of tries. Twice in succession Evans pumped penalties deep into the home 22 and, each time, perfect lineout ball and text-book passing set up tries for Chris Stamatakis, with an overlap on the touchline, and Ryan Howells, with a expertly timed incursion from the blindside wing. When Richard Jones added a third touchdown after Howells collected an inch-perfect cross-kick from Gareth Davies, the game was over as a contest.

Though Price added a second penalty goal after a rare Pooler attack, their cause was not helped when scrum-half Andrew Quick was sin-binned. From the resulting five-metre scrum Adam Powell intelligently attacked the gap left in the opposition back row for a fourth try and a 29-6 interval lead.

Home hopes were raised when their pack secured turnover ball from the kick-off to the second half and skipper Ben Salt galloped over for Price to convert. Cardiff soon killed any hopes of a Pooler comeback. Darren Allinson was crucially involved in the next three tries: the first from a free kick and finished off by Darren Ryan; the second when collecting a wayward clearance on halfway and Richard Jones scored; and a third from yet another errant kick for Dan McShane to support and Pugh to show his pace in claiming the try.

Jones completed his hat-trick after more good work by Howells and Pugh before the ninth try came after a brilliant run by Roger Davies, playing on the wing. The referee then blew up a couple of minutes early but on a freezing afternoon no one among the handful of Cardiff supporters was complaining.    


Official : Phil Fear (Wales)

Pontypool Cardiff