ANYONE who thought this season’s Championship would be another cakewalk for Pontypool can think again judging by the starts Gwent rivals Bargoed and Bedwas have made.

Pooler, bidding for a fourth consecutive title and promotion to the Premiership, are top of the table after seven straight bonus-point wins.

But just three points behind them sit Bargoed, who are also unbeaten with six victories and a draw, and fourth-placed Bedwas boast a 100% record having played two games fewer.

The first head-to-head between any of the three is on December 14 when Pooler host Bargoed at Pontypool Park – the reverse clash is on the penultimate weekend of the season.

Pontypool and Bedwas don’t meet until January 31, before the reverse encounter two months later.

“We’re happy where we are,” said Bargoed director of rugby Jeremy Rogers.

“We’ve managed to pick up bonus points in the last few games which has helped the cause, but we know how difficult a league it is.

“It’s very competitive, every team is trying to take your scalp.

"Pontypool are picking up bonus points week after week, so we know we’ve got to do the same.

“The pressure is on us to pick up bonus points and that’s difficult to achieve every week because the sides in the league are so competitive.

“Our first game with Pontypool is on December 14 and we’re obviously looking forward to that, but we’ve got some tough games in between, starting with Narberth at home.

“We want to be in the mix. We know what the challenge is with Pontypool and we know we’ve got to pick up those bonus points along the way.

“The two games against them will be difficult, but so will the other games against the likes of Bedwas as well.

“We’re not taking anything for granted – we know how much work we’ve got to do.”

Pooler visit Cardiff Met tomorrow just a week after battering them 66-21 in the second round of the National Cup.

A home quarter-final against Carmarthen Quins was Pooler’s reward in the draw for the last eight.

“A home draw is great, and it didn’t really matter who came out of the hat,” said backs coach Tom Hancock.

“There are a lot of big names that have gone out in the early rounds. We want to go as far as we can in the cup, and to win it if possible, but the league is our number one priority.”

Meanwhile, Bargoed host Narberth, Bedwas travel to Tata Steel and struggling Cross Keys play cup conquerors Neath at Pandy Park.