02 September 2018 / Club News

Match Report Pontardawe vs South Gower 1st September 2018



Well here we go again the start to a new season, new Captain (Mike Hodges), new hopes, new aspirations and lots of anticipation and optimism. Given that we did the double on our visitors last season and our pre season preparation had been excellent, there was quiet confidence in achieving a good result. 


The game was played at the leisure centre ground as The Rec  was hosting the Heart of the Valley show. The pitch was in good condition albeit perhaps the grass a little long; the weather a pleasant first day of Autumn . A minutes silence preceded kick off, out of respect to the passing of the grandmother of playing brothers Sion and Calum Jones.  


With Alltwen behind them, South Gower (SG) kicked off and put Ponty under a lot of immediate pressure, which was relieved by a good distance touch kick by fly half Dan Brinley. But SG through a quick throw in; were back on the attack in seconds requiring loads of tackles to thwart them. Both SG’s prop and left wing came ever so close to scoring early tries. Carwyn Jenkins ripping of the ball out of mauls and fired up Sam Benyon were good to watch. However the first quarter was all SG but they failed to score. Perhaps choosing to kick for better field position over easily kickable penalties may at this point have been a mistake but it clearly demonstrated their intentions.


21 minutes into the game it was all change with Ponty in the ascendancy and from broken play the threesome of Nathan, Norm and Sam attacked the right hand corner with great passing and interchange that resulted in Nathan Thomas scoring the first points of the game and indeed this season for Ponty near the corner, which went unconverted. No sooner had the game restarted and Mike Hodges made a clean break of some 30 meters and looked almost certain to score but for a last ditch tackle which saw the ball go loose and Calum continue the attack by kicking it along the floor. I thought he was illegally impeded from scoring and didn’t understand the Ref’s decision to blow the whistle and award SG a penalty.  After 15 mins of being on top in this second quarter the tide changed again and it was SG who were in control and time and time again they choose to kick for better field position than take easy 3 point penalty kicks. From one touchline kick they won their throw in and run the ball left along the line with each player drawing a defender but passing before contact ,for their No 8 ( how he was there was on reflection clearly a pre-planned move) to go over in corner but luckily for Ponty the try was disallowed. But an identical piece play immediately followed and the same number 8 in the same position went over for another try, which went unconverted. In the move the Ref saw something that saw Mike Hodges yellow carded. So at half time the score 5-5.


With Mike in the sin bin Ponty kicked off the second half and capitalised on the mistake of a SG forward dropping the ball. A number of rucks and mauls ensued and pick and goes allowed Ponty to continue to gain ground. Richard Greig was prominent in this period linking the marauding forwards with delicate passes out to the backs. The reward for all this graft and brawn was a lovely try scored by Joe Mort close to the posts which was converted by Dan Brindley. So despite being a man down Ponty were back in the lead. Six minutes into the half smart movement of the ball along the line by SG required Nathan to illegally intercept a ball too prevent a try which saw him join Mike in the sin bin. The restart saw SG continue to move the ball back and forth along the lines and two quick succession tries (both converted) were scored when we were down to 13 men. Moving the score 12 -19.  Mike then rejoined the game but by the time Nathan did, SG had scored another when the SG centre kicked the ball out wide for Jackson Jones their second row to gather on the touchline and more or less the half way line to run in which was easily converted. 12-26. 


Ponty lost the mojo somewhat (allbeit Norm did cross the line for a disallowed try) and the fourth quarter saw SG confidently moving the ball at speed along the lines drawing defenders and passing before contact. Adding to this their clear tactic of placing good ball handling forwards (particularly their No 8 who was outstanding) on each touchline and spreading the ball out to them either through passing or long kicks. With our defence spreed so wide and so many tackles needing to be made or committed too, SG were able to run in two more really good tries which saw the game end with a score of 12 - 40. 


On reflection SG played well when then choose not to mix it with Ponty forwards. They clearly had a game plan of moving the ball, at pace out wide either through the hands or through the air and back again if necessary.  A forward out there with each of the wingers paid big dividends and committing those men to be out there meant that they would have been foolish to mix it. 


Ponty are clearly disappointed but need not despair, we have plenty to work on but also plenty to offer. 




This Weeks sponsors Man Of The Match Calum Jones 


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