SWA report : This was a local derby with a great deal riding on it – and not just by way of bragging rights. Homesters Pontypool, still fighting against the WRU’s stated intention to exclude them from an abbreviated Premiership at the end of the season, showed admirable determination in their quest to finish above Newport in the final league table. One point ahead of Bedwas as of Saturday morning, they were five points adrift of the Black and Ambers, playing their last game of the season. It has not been a great season for Pooler, even in front of their adoring fans on home ground. But neither could Newport’s record away from Rodney Parade be described – by any stretch of the imagination – as striking, with just two wins on the road.
So it was no real surprise that Pontypool took the lead in this one and were never at any stage fronted. From the moment Tom Hancock put them in front with a 7th-min penalty goal, they built their lead steadily to 15-3 at the interval and 22-3 soon afterwards. For that significant lead they could be particularly thankful to one man, centre Dan Robinson. Seeing his fellow three-quarters repulsed by bone-rattling tackles for which Luke Plummer, Scott Williams and Elliot Frewen were mainly responsible, he bided his time and waited for opportunities to arrive. The first came when Adam Davies made a well-timed interception to scorch 50 metres down the middle of the pitch. When he was held, the ball reached Robinson and the centre made necessary ground to finish the movement in style. Within two minutes he was on the score sheet again. A conversion plus a penalty from Hancock and Pooler were on their way.
The Black and Ambers showed some decent resolution with a second-half comeback that brought tries from Carl Townsend and Alan Awcock. But the last word belonged to Pontypool. Picking up a quick throw-in from Lee Davies, fellow replacement Jamie Jeune trundled his way to the line for a try that will have given much pleasure to former front-rowers Ray Prosser and Graham Price, both seated in the stand. “We are well pleased and need just one more point against Llanelli next week,” said winning coach James Capron. “They deserved to win,” replied Newport’s Sven Cronk. “Playing on their own patch in front of their own fans made all the difference.”