Pontypool 17 Blackwood 30
2:53pm Monday 4th March 2013 in Sport
ACCORDING to the popstar Beverly Knight, "Should of, would of, could of" are the last words of a fool, but Pontypool Head Coach Mike Hook would have had reason to reflect on all three on Saturday.
His side gave a display packed full of aggression and commitment, and could perhaps rightly feel a touch hard done by to have been beaten by a margin as wide as13 points, or to have lost this game at all.
Their old foe, short lapses in concentration, came back to haunt them once more in their Championship clash with Blackwood at Pontypool Park on Saturday, with the visitors scoring 17 points in 19 minutes before the break.
But in the second- half the Pooler pack totally dismantled the Blackwood scrum, with set-piece after set-piece sent careering backwards.
Pooler felt aggrieved at the finish that a yellow card hadn’t been shown to one of the Wood front-row and also had justifiable claims for a penalty try after three scrums were reset just six metres from the Wood line.
On a freezing day, it certainly seemed to warm watching scrum-great Graham Price, particularly when another fierce drive from Chris Hitt’s pack set the perfect platform for the backs to attack. A quick clear out gave clean second phase ball and smart hands from Sam Mills, who put in one his most assured performances of the season, and Clayton Gullis freed Steffan Morgan to score in the corner.
But at 17-27 they had left themselves too far to come back.
The game was by no means a classic. In fact in the first twenty minutes it was downright awful, but for the first time in a while, Pooler gained a foothold in the game, and took the lead when Gullis landed an early penalty, having missed from longer distance shortly before.
Blackwood 10 Paul Emmannueli and Gullis then traded pens before disaster struck straight from the restart, Wood securing the ball and shipping it right for hooker Josh Clark to score, Emmannueli adding the extras.
Then it was a poor missed tackle by skipper Luke Dyckhoff that allowed centre Nick Tucker to feed Aaron Quick for another converted score which looked to have sealed the game.
Blackwood Director of Rugby Matthew Back could be heard encouraging his team that "one more score would break them."
But it didn’t come and Pooler could have gone in to the break with a more favourable score than 9-17 had wing Dai Sandalls not been dubiously ruled in touch in the process of scoring.
The referee was unsure and consulted with Blackwood’s touch-judge who ruled Sandalls out.
The house of cards didn’t fall and Pooler bossed the second period but couldn’t make their pressure count, Emmannueli sealing the win with a late penalty.
Pontypool: Gullis, S Morgan, Blackmore, Macey, Sandalls, Mills, Guy, Dyckhoff (capt), Organ, JWilliams, M Thomas, R Thomas, Powell, Palmer, Walker.
REPS: D Davies, Roberts, J Davies, Velu, D Morgan.
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