‘We gave it away’ says Pontypool coach
4:43pm Wednesday 3rd October 2012 in Sport
PONTYPOOL 22 BRIDGEND ATH 23
“IT WASN’T even a game that got away, we gave it away.” That was the view of distraught Pontypool RFC head coach Mike Hook after he watched his side go down to a fifth straight defeat of the season with the last kick of the game.
Pooler had led Bridgend Athletic 22-16 with fewer than ten minutes remaining at Pontypool Park when, deep in the Athletic 22, they were awarded a penalty by referee Tom Williams after the Bridgend defence were caught offside at a ruck.
It was eminently kickable, particularly given that Clayton Gullis, at full-back, had yet to miss in all his attempts for the home team.
But before the young Pooler kicker, who had started the game at outside-half, could get his hands on the ball inside-centre Chris Macey decided to take a quick tap penalty and burrowed towards the line.
It looked a poor decision given a penalty would have put the home side two scores clear and perhaps seal that elusive first win since relegation.
It looked an even worse decision when, two phases later, Pooler coughed the ball up and Bridgend escaped.
“That was the game right there,” said Hook. “They would have had to really work hard then needing at least two scores.”
What happened next meant Pooler remain rock bottom of the Championship table.
Pooler were penalised for a lineout not being straight and Bridgend chose a scrum to set up one last charge for the Pooler line.
The home-side’s defence had looked organised and with a clear plan of how to nullify the bursts at the side of the ruck which have proved costly this term.
But under immense pressure the young side went “off policy, badly,” as Hook put it, flying out of the line as individuals in their fervour to hang on and conceding a converted try to cost them dear.
An incident off the ball sparked a mass brawl with all 30 players involved and saw the otherwise excellent Pooler No 8, Luke Dychoff, and Bridgend skipper Simon Mustoe sent to the sin bin.
The Free Press man of the match was Elliot Goodman.
He was outstanding all day at the ruck, with two crucial turnovers, and supported well in the loose with some lovely sleight of hand and took his try well.
Pontypool: Norton, Butler, D.Davies,Macey,Morgan, Gullis, Morgan, Dychoff, Goodman, Williams, Tyler, Thomas, Matthews, Jeune, R.Davies. Replacements: Vornell, M