Fixture

Ystalyfera RFC | 1st Team 15 - 38 Pontypool RFC | 1st Team
Josh Jarrett
Try 1
Luc Caines
Try 1
Steffan Lloyd Castle
Conversion 1
Penalty 1

Match Report
24 September 2019 / Team News

Ystalyfera 15 – 38 Pontypool

A very large crowd gathered at Ynysydarren for the first ever home game in the Welsh National Championship, between Ystalyfera – last seasons’ Division 1 West Central Champions, and Pontypool, Top of the National Championship for the last three seasons. The conditions could not have been better, the new posts shining in the warmth of a bright blue sky.

Pontypool kicked off toward the School end with the sun behind them, attacking straight away. Ystalyfera won the first penalty for crossing, but the “Pooler” returned with a midfield drive up the centre, letting flanker Adam Stratton push thru for the first Try in the 4th minute. This was converted by outside half Kieran Meek: score 0 – 7. Play resumed in the visitors half where Ystalyfera were unlucky to knock on. The resultant scrum saw the ‘Fera win a penalty and full back Steffan Castle kicked over in the 8th minute: score 3 – 7. Pontypool surged back and from a scrum in the home 22, Ystalyfera scrum half Zac Beynon broke away, feeding the ball to his outside half Gareth James who punted a long line kick into the visitors half. Events swayed either side of half way with ‘Pool trying to run the ball and Ystalyfera tackling hard in defence. The referee warned both sides to cool their enthusiasm, giving Pontypool a penalty. The resultant line out was contested, the visitors getting another penalty. Competition between both sets of forwards was relentless, Pontypool creeping ever closer to the home try-line. In the 21st minute a catch and drive from a line out saw Pontypool hooker Lewis Ball push thru a Try, again converted by Kieran Meek, lifting the score: 3 – 14. Back into the visitor half and the ‘Fera backs came close to an interception, the resultant scrum getting the visitors another penalty. With Pooler running the ball Ystalyfera stole possession, a long kick and chase seeing a chance of a home Try in the Changing Room corner disallowed by the referee with a further penalty. The rugby was relentless and after a ‘Fera penalty took events into the Tunnel corner, a break into the middle by Zac Beynon earned another penalty and a scrum under the posts. The ‘Fera forwards were now full of vigour and the Pontypool front row appeared in distress. Losing props Pontypool opted for uncontested scrums. This did not suppress Ystalyfera however, and in the 36th minute, a lopped pass out into the left corner saw ‘Fera wing Josh Jarrett run in the first home Try, raising his personal tally to 201 points for the club. The first period ended with Pontypool not finding any gaps in the home defence and Steffan Castle kicking safe line kicks into the visitors half. Score 8 – 14.  

The second period began with both sides looking to gain control in midfield. Possession rotated between the sets of forwards where the contest remained intense. The referee attempted to keep control with regular penalties and neither side were giving in. With the Ystalyfera back defence leaving no gaps Pontypool pressed with continued line-outs and scrums. This bore reward in the 58th minute when the referee awarded ‘Pool a penalty-Try: score 8 – 21. The game continued in the home half and after running the ball out from a scrum the visitors increased their lead with the fourth Bonus Try in the 63rd minute, pressed home by centre Amosa Nove. This was again converted: score 8 – 28. To some relief for both sets of forwards a set of kicks for position ensued, an opportunity for a drop goal being taken by Kieran Meek in the 70th minute: score 8 – 31. Pontypool continued to attack and the Ystalyfera defence again worked hard. Looking to score again the ‘Fera ran the ball, Pontypool having to keep their shape to keep them out. A penalty moved events back into the ‘Fera 22, and a miss pass gave ‘Pool a 5m scrum. An attempted drive was contested until the referee awarded another Penalty Try in the 81st minute: score 8 – 38. Ystalyfera backs run with the ball from the restart, tearing thru the visitors 22 where an effort by Gareth James was disallowed. Ystalyfera kept trying and from a line-out in the School corner, the ball came to Josh Jarrett who kicked into space where the other wing Luc Caines, ran in the second ‘Fera Try in the 87th minute. This was converted by Steffan Castle giving a final score of 15 – 38 to Pontypool.

This was a hot day for watching and certainly a hot day for all the players on the field. Ystalyfera gave their all and the defending Champions had to use all their effort, skill and guile to overcome the ‘Fera. With a long season to go bigger chances will come, and we shall look forward with much anticipation.

Penalty count was 11 against Pontypool and 14 against Ystalyfera.

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