31 December 2017 / Club News

Match Report: Pontardawe V Tonna

Tonna vs Pontardawe 30th December 2017


A December not to Remember !


Despite the grey and depressing weather, days of turkey and booze it was time in the words of Dai Hawkins for each and every player to stand up and be counted in todays game against Tonna, in a rousing pre-match focusing speech delivered in the club house prior to departure. Recent games against Tonna he said had narrowly gone against them, games they could easily have been won. Also slow starts in this Decembers games were not to be repeated today. All in attendance were in agreement. The team sheet looked good. 


So it was we arrived at Tonna, a club with a nice set up with a big club house and two reasonably good pitches outside albeit very soft but definitely playable. As planned there was amble time for a pre start players warm up session which both teams took advantage of.


Tonna kicked off at 14.32 hrs towards the clubhouse, and with the wind in their favour blowing as it was down the field slightly to the left. Ponty started well, absorbing lots of pressure from wave after wave of attack and were confident and creative in their attempts of running out of defence. It was inevitable I suppose that something had to give and it did so with a penalty awarded against them for intentional off-side some 20 metres out and 10 metres to the right of centre which was easily slotted over. Ponties re-start was a shocker with the ball not travelling 10 metres and from the resulting centre of the field scrummage Tonna were able to kick; as they did time and time again in this first half; for Ponties right hand corner flag. A few more minutes of intense pressure followed including the thwarting of the driving maul from a line-out at Ponties left hand corner which was were worthy of note. Tonna were awarded another penalty in front of the posts for not releasing and the score moved on to (6-0). 


This time the restart was kicked long only for the ball to be kicked back with interest and unfortunately dropped, meaning that Ponty were back in their own twenty-two once again with Tonna procession at the scrummage. The game then began to turn in Ponties favour and with some 13 minutes on the clock Ponty worked themselves into the Tonna half for the first time. Power play; after a good scrummage 5 metres inside the Tonna half; saw much ground gained and a good chase of a penalty kick saw Tonna with no option other than to kick the ball into touch, some 10 metres from their own line . Unfortunately they won Ponties throw in and relieved the pressure on themselves. This was the theme for the remainder of the first quarter Ponty applying great pressure only to thwart themselves by losing a scrum against the head and gifting possession away by opting to kick during rampaging forward attacks and good offloading by all. 


As the game moved into the second quarter, good power play from Tonna saw them land a difficult penalty attempt (9-0). From the restart some good field positions line outs and off loads saw Ponty take control of the game and a quick tap and go from a penalty, some 15 meters out caught Tonna unawares and commit a professional foul by tackling before retiring 10 yards. Referee Gareth Protheroe from Pontypridd produced the yellow card and Ponty kicked the penalty 9-3. Ponty gathered the restart and began to attack again with Mike Hodges taking a good tackle. A lineout won on the half way line saw Ponty take the ball in a driving maul to Tonnas 22 meter line. To recap on the second quarter , Ponty were on top, lots of good power play and off-loading and less fruitless kicking. By half time the wind had stopped.


5 minutes into the second half saw Jamie Rowley yellow carded for a professional foul that prevented a try in a similar position of that of the Tonna player earlier, so Even Stevens in that department. This meant that Sion Jones returned to the field to prop and Josh Willis the No 8 was sacrificed. Lots of substitutions were made in the minutes that followed and lots of pressure applied  by Ponty.  A long clearance kick was made by Tonna which was gathered by Aaron Davies just inside his own half who then passed inside and a further pass (this one appeared to be forward) to Mike Hodges saw him run 50 yards beating a few defenders on the way and score a great try in the corner, which went unconverted to bring the score to 9-8, some ten minutes or so into the second half. From the re-start The Cherries launched another promising attack with again lots of rampaging forwards and backs, off loading between each other only to be thwarted when an attempted chip through rebounded off the legs of a Tonna player back beyond were it had come from and a subsequent kick through saw the ball and play retire some 45 metres from where it was and 5 meters from our own line. From this position Tonna were able to score a try which they didnt convert. 14-8. As the third quarter drew to a close the game was evenly balanced with Ponty being the more physical. 


More substitutions were made and Ponty continued with the power play which saw the ball move from the left along the line to the right wing Aaron Davies who had lots and lots to do to run in a really good and well worked try in the corner. The difficult conversion attempt just shaved the wrong side of the post so the score moved to 14 -13 with 10 minutes to go. 


With the threat of losing this game Tonna seemed to refocus and regather their composure and as result step up their game to match that of Ponty. So neither side could dominate the final 10 minutes, a period within which Tonna did land another penalty. So the game ended with the final score of 17-13 to Tonna.


It was a really frustrating game to watch, and to a lesser extent so have all the December games,  for the team has shown that it does have talent, grit and determination. The forwards can and have dominated many periods of each game, the backs can and have run in lots of really good tries particularly in the wider channels. The tackling is good and proper. For me there isnt a lot wrong and things can be improved. We do need to look at our kicking game though as it seems to me that we kick poorly and far too often, meaning we are missing penalties and conversions, giving away procession cheaply and denying the ball from the wider channel runners. 



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