Pontypool start with stunning six try win at Beddau
PONTYPOOL’S Swalec Championship season exploded into life as they handed out a 40 point pasting on the opening day of the season at Beddau.
The resurgent red,black and whites scored six tries in the 41-21 demolition as they secured a bonus point and a near perfect start to the new campaign.
The talk throughout the close season at Pontypool Park has been that the players couldn’t wait to get the new season under way after last term’s stirring finish.
That was certainly evidenced here, as a wound up Pooler bristled with intensity.
From the moment debutant openside Ben Sparks blew apart the opening move of the game with the first in what would become and long line of brutal tackles there looked to be just one winner.
From the scrum the former Bath Academy prospect, one of five Pooler league debutants, forced Pontypool attacked.
Last year’s player of the year Matt Thomas made the initial line break before Pooler stretched the play to the left touchline. When it came back right, the overlap was there.
Skipper Luke Dyckhoff, outstanding again in leading from the front, straightened well and rolled in another of the new boys Josh Hurley to race in to score.
Clayton Gullis missed the conversion but after 2 minutes Pooler were on top and never looked back.
Gullis missed another shot with a penalty from half way but made sure Pontypool were moving at a point a minute when he scored from a similar distance to make it 8-0.
A huge attacking scrum from a penalty saw Dyckhoff driven over for the second, converted by Gullis before the try of the game.
With Matt O’Brien controversially heading to Newport, Niall Martin away and Sam Mills expecting the birth of his and partner Lauren’s first child, last year’s fans player of the year Gullis was thrown in at 10 having spent most of pre-season in his now more familiar full-back role.
He didn’t disappoint controlling the game beautifully.
Deep in his own 22 Beddau finally tried to get some pressure on the Pooler backline. But Gullis, sensing the rush of defenders like an NFL quarterback checked out of his option to kick and stepped inside his opposite number Rhys Morgan.
The ball went left through the hands of the entire backline before Chris Lang was hauled down. Quick ball was spun back the other way where yet another overlap was on.
Dyckhoff threw a lovely pop out the back of his hand to Ben Parry and the hooker straightened like a centre before playing in sub Trevor James, on for the inured Dai Davies, to score with his first touch.
20-0 up at half time the bonus point was now the objective.
Beddau were much improved and Pooler were rugged in a patchy second period, devoid for 10 minutes of Derryn Jones and home full-back Steve Robinson who had been binned for a spat on half-time.
But a deserved score for Jordan Williams secured the bonus point in an immediate response to a soft try for the hosts from Morgan.
That was followed from the restart with a score for Lang and with both converted by Gullis Pooler were out of sight.
A penalty try and a close range score from Hooker Jack Jones either side of a debut try for Pooler’s Marc Thorley perhaps flattered Beddau and left Pontypool head coach Mike Hook frustrated.
But it couldn’t mask the fact this was the best performance of his reign.
“Ole Ole Ole Ole” the Pooler fans sang. Pontypool were top of the league. What a difference a year makes.
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