Defeat leaves Pontypool with 1 win in 17
PONTYPOOL were comfortably beaten at home again this weekend, this time going down 33-5 to Gwent rivals Newbridge.
It means the club still have just a solitary win from their 17 league and cup games this season.
It means they have the worst points record in the division at an eye-watering –249.
And it means a once famous club would be staring down the barrel of Division 1 East rugby next year were it not for the WRU ruling that Pooler can’t be relegated for their first two seasons in the league.
It would be easy therefore to pan the club again, as has been the case in a number of previous match reports here.
But what is the point?
The quickly assembled squad of predominantly youngsters from the youth team and lower reaches of Welsh divisional rugby are not being beaten week in week out because they aren’t trying.
A trip to Tuesday or Thursday night training would show the dissenting voices on the Pontypool Park bank the levels of commitment the boys who pull on the fabled red, black and white jersey are putting in.
In fact it appears that it is that history, the iconic image rugby supporters world-wide have in their heads when they hear the club’s name that is the greatest challenge this current side faces.
Physically out-muscled earlier this season, they’ve addressed it, defensively frail early on, they have for the most part improved markedly as the season has gone on.
As has their lineout, their discipline and concentration.
But none of those things have been enough, predominantly because the gap between where most of the team’s in the division are now, and where this current Pooler squad are now, is massive.
Yet the supporters still feel the team have a divine right to be winning, every week.
Just last week one could be heard deriding Narbeth, one of the league’s top sides and one who have steadily built an impressively balanced side over the last five years as "a village club" and that Pontypool losing to them was a "disgrace."
The shirt and the history weigh heavy.
Skipper Luke Dyckhoff scored a consolation try after Pooler had shipped five tries to another of the division’s slicker outfits on Saturday, with Jordan Richards, Stuart Davies, Steffan Morgan, Ryan Lee and Dwain Dyer all touching down and outside-half Neil Burnett landing four conversions.
There were again mistakes, lapses in defensive concentration, an early sin binning, but asked how he manages to not completely lose his mind with frustration, the steadfastly sensible and decent head coach Mike Hook appeared to hit the nail firmly on the head.
"We are being realistic," he said. "We looked at where we were at the start of the season and we knew this was going to be a tough season, and don’t get me wrong, it certainly has been, but it’s about remaining positive and not giving up.
"I know we’ve got more performances in us and we’re going to get the whole performance soon.
"We’ve found some good young players who are developing it just takes time.
"The boys are working hard and they deserve that win, we need to pick ourselves up and push again for that against Blackwood here on March 2."