18 February 2018 / Club News

Match Report: Fall Bay Vs Pontardawe

This was game everybody was looking forward too with great expectations as Ponty were fourth in the table and Falls Bay ninth and on paper we were fielding a strong team, so a good bonus point win was not an unrealistic expectation. Indeed the plan was to win the game in the first twenty or thirty minutes to put the opposition to bed.


It was the authors first ever visit to the ground and saw it quite a nice set up, with a good clubhouse, adjacent rugby and football fields and also a bowls green outside the front door.  Even the weather was perfect with blue sky, bright sun which had some warmth to it and a southerly breeze running down the length of the pitch which was level between the posts but sloped between the touchlines. 


Some of us on the touchline who had enjoyed the promotional Guinness at our clubhouse and more still at theirs, prior to the game, jested that Ponty looked the part prior to kick off whilst our hosts kitted out in very Australian green and gold looked a defeated team and half the size of some of our giants. How wrong we were later proved to be! 


Falls Bay kicked off into the breeze and the ball taken cleanly and retuned with interest to the oppositions half where the chasing Ponty team contained the ball and were almost immediately awarded a very kickable penalty. However they choose to kick for the corner and duly won the resulting lineout which was nicely taken by Nigel Williams who also did his bit in setting up what was an excellent driving maul which Falls Bay had little hope of stopping allowing Josh Willis to score an excellent try. Which Dan Brindley converted with a kick six meters in from the touchline. So all going to plan seven points up 2 minutes played. 


Following some play after the re-start Dai Morris was penalised at the scrum and the Falls Bay No 10 must have fancied his abilities for he choose to try to kick for the posts from some two yards inside his own half and the breeze against him. The outcome was that the lead remained the same.


Only 9 minutes into the game Ponty were forced into there first substitution with Carwyn Jenkins coming on for the injured Josh Willis who was injured when, in the words of Sion Jones who insisted that I write this when he jested  had injured himself trying to pull off woeful clearance kick which was an embarrassment  to all and sundry


13 minutes into the game at a line out 30 yards from our own line the Referee made what appeared to us on the touchline to be a controversial if not confusing decision to award a penalty against Ponty for doing something before he had lowered hand to signify that the lineout was over. Some clarification was sort from the players in a dissentful way which resulted in the team being sent back 10 metres. Up popped the opposition No 10 to slot the penalty and score moved onto 3-7. 


The next ten minutes was all about Falls Bay who really turned on the pressure with good ball flowing along the back lines time and time again and Ponty players and supporters alike becoming more and more frustrated. Five minutes into this period Weggy, Ponties No 1 supporter was asked to calm down by the Falls Bay No1 who was actually playing hooker. Five minutes later Leon Whithey was yellow carded for persistent offending and play moved to a scrum only one metre fro our try line. Aaron Davies moved to scrum half and we thankfully won good scrummage ball which was run up the field at close quarter with a particularly good run with the ball by Carwyn the first of quite a few in match made by him. On the half way line a training field, line out move saw the ball passed down from the jumper to Dai Morris who; with the ball in his hands; perform two piruets to emerge from the back of the lineout to start yet another forward rampage down the field. There then saw another successful line out result in attempt after attempt to barge our way over the line for a try. A penalty was awarded which was taken quickly and passed to Jamie Jarrett who was running at full pelt to crash over the line for an excellent try almost under the posts which Dan easily converted to move the score onto 3-14.  


Ponty then played some good power play rugby for the rest of the half with a notable good break down the right hand side of the pitch by Dai Morris Jordan Byrne and Carwyn Jenkins which saw the ball brought back to the left into Dan Brindleys hands who made a great break to run some 25 metres or so to score under the posts which he subsequently converted. 


So at half time the score was 3-21 and whilst this was by no way an easy game we were at least where we wanted to be, well ahead and the potential of a bonus point win to come in the second half. 


Ponties kick off to start the second half when straight out and resulted in scrum on the half way line. Not long after which Dai Morris retired injured from the field and Sion Griffiths came on to take his place. Some 8 minutes into the half Falls Bay were awarded a penalty for Ponty not retiring 10 metres and decided to run it and after two or three tackles later powered over for a try but a very kickable conversion was missed. 8-14. Our restart was kicked back over our heads to fall some 30 yards from our line where not long after, Ponty lost a scrum against the head and the ball ran at speed for the Ponty try line, good tackling stopped the movement but yet another penalty was awarded against us which Falls Bay took quickly and again surged for the line. How they didnt score was incredible and due credit must be given to Ponty for some cracking tackles.  Yet another penalty was awarded to Falls Bay and yet again they took it quickly and this time there was no mistake for they run in a good try but yet again missed the conversion. 13-21


The Ponty supporters were becoming more and more critical and vocal of the referees decisions and the team looked to be all at sea on the field. Falls Bay defence was in our face and tensions rose and I suppose inevitably a punch up saw Ponties No7 Jamie Jarrett yellow carded. Frustration saw Calum passed the ball with about six Falls Bay forwards only yards in front of him, his run and jinks almost saw him break through but it was,t to be and even worse he was injured bad enough for him to leave the field and be substituted by Lee Evans.


The supporters, me included were impressed with the Falls Bay use of the ball that was involving all 15 players and equally frustrated by our inability to get the ball into the wider channels, indeed I can only recall one occasion when we saw the ball shipped out, we effectively played a 10 man game in attack which is pretty amazing when you think of who we have out there and the number of tries they have scored for us this season.


5 minutes after Jamies yellow card another one was shown to Nigel Williams meaning that Ponty were now playing with 13 men and facing a rampant Falls Bay team. During this period lots of power play saw Falls Bay score another good try and convert it to bring the score to 20-21. 


Normal time had expired and we were now playing injury time and relieved to get all of our players back on the field. The referee awarded us two consecutive penalties both of which we failed to get into touch and allowed Falls Bay to come at us again. Thankfully the award of a third penalty did see us get the ball into touch but still there was time for the lineout which took place some 4 to 5 minutes into injury time. More play followed and the REF let it be known that this was the last play. Falls Bay pressed home were awarded a penalty on the half way, awarded another 10 metres for dissent and the Falls Bay No.10 with the wind behind him placed the ball to take a penalty attempt, that should it go over would win the game for them. The kick was a powerful one and looked to be going over but thankfully it hit the right hand post some two meters from the top and bounced back onto the pitch. Whoever it was who caught the ball did the right thing and got the ball off the field for Ponty to win the game.  


So this was a game to remember, our plan was good one and the score of 3-21 at half time; whilst it didnt truly reflect how well Falls Bay had played in the first half; we were at least on plan. However Falls Bay didnt go to bed in fact the very opposite. I guess it was the frustration, yellow cards, dissent, not using our skilful backs and the need to play all of our subs much earlier than we would have liked, could have been our ALMOST undoing, for in the end we were not undone, we won the game collected 4 points and we still have an outside shot at promotion.


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