2009/2010 Principality Premiership
Newport 53 v 14 Pontypool
17 October 2009 - Rodney Parade, Newport

Match Report

Newport 53 Pontypool 14 ( HT: 32-0)


Unfortunately this match will probably be remembered not for the 9 tries scored but rather for some ugly scenes.. This was more like the old days when Pontypool were often accused of trying to intimidate the opposition so much so that several teams refused to play them for a while. If this was bottom of the league Pontypool’s plan for this match then it badly mis-fired as Newport were not going to be intimidated this time. In the end they were resoundingly beaten with Newport recording the biggest win by either side in the 140 matches played to date beating the 43-3 win by Newport in 1987 and 46-9 win by Pontypool in 1981 and in truth it should have been more.

Wing Alan Awcock scored in the 4th minute and then outside-half Chris Wannell who was to play a major role until injuring a calf muscle at HT kicked a penalty on 10 mins for a 8-0 lead but then the trouble started. On 15 mins there was a scuffle between two players but other players decided to join in with Pontypool prop Neil Giles racing in from 20 yds, forearm raised, to try to deliver a blow from behind. Referee Mr Leighton Hodges (Bridgend) red carded Giles and yellow carded Pontypool wing forward Morgan Allen, along with Newport flanker Sam Waldron and wing Mike Poole. A few minutes later a mass brawl broke out in front of the main stand with not only Giles returning to the field of play but also some visiting “officials” going onto the field. Surprisingly the referee after talking to his assistants Neil Hennessy and Steve Richmond only issued a warning to captains Andrew Coombs and Sam Mills.

Pontypool would have had problems playing Newport with 15 men but with further yellow cards to follow just before HT they really had no chance. Wannell kicked a penalty on 21 mins, centre Scott Williams scored a try after a nice break by Wannell on 34 mins and Wannell converted to take the score to 18-0. He then got a deserved try after yet another nice jinking run which he converted to make the score 25-0 on 40+2 mins. Then Pontypool decided to reduce their 14 man team even further with a yellow card for hooker Rhys Buckley on 40+3 mins and when centre Nathan Williams scored a try on 40+4 mins, converted by Wannell, centre Dan Robinson was sin-binned. The half finished on 46 mins with Newport leading 32-0 and Pontypool down to 12 men.

On 44th mins dangerous wing Awcock touched down for Connor to convert. With Pontypool back to 14 men full-back Gareth Wyatt added a further try on 49 mins and Connor converted to take his club total to 901 pts and the 6th Newport RFC player to accomplish this. By now Newport had made several changes and seemed to lose some of their rhythm and poor passing and handling not only cost them further tries they gifted Pontypool one of their two tries. Pontypool scored tries on 52 and 71 mins from wing Dan Connelly and centre Phil Price both converted by full-back Geraint O’Driscoll and to be fair when they decided to play rugby they showed that they could score tries. In between Pontypool’s tries, popular wing Mike Poole returning from long time injury got on the scoreboard on 67 mins and Connor converted. A replacement for Pontypool was back Gareth John from Tonmawr who looked dangerous when he came on in 65th min. 

Newport head coach Sven Cronk said afterwards: “I thought we played some tremendous rugby in the first half. We showed real pace and tempo and our ability to hold on to the ball for long periods clearly caused frustration in the Pontypool ranks. After clinching a bonus point before the interval, the game went a little flat but all the real damage was done in that eventful first half.”

Photos courtesy of Ron Sutcliffe : ... mview=grid

Photos courtesy of Chas Awcock : ... Pontypool/

Attendance: 1619

Official : Leighton Hodges (Wales)

Newport Pontypool