Preview: Aberavon v Pontypool
This Saturday, the Talbot Athletic Ground will be the setting as Aberavon hosts Pontypool in the Indigo Group Premiership. The action is set to kick off at 2:30 p.m.
Pooler earned the WRU Championship title last season, going through the season unbeaten, gaining themselves promotion to the Premiership alongside Neath, who secured the runner-up spot.
Pontypool had a couple of pre-season games, both against other Premiership teams. First, they faced Pontypridd that ended in a 21-28 defeat. During the game, Pooler scored tries through centre Joel Mahoney, hooker Will Griffiths, and back row Ben Moa, with outside-half Matthew Jarvis successfully converting all three. Ponty responded with four tries of their own.
In their last pre-season clash at Pontypool Park, Pontypool fell to Merthyr 21-31. Pooler notched three tries, with scrum-half Morgan Lloyd bagging two and a penalty try, complemented by two conversions by outside-half Matthew Jarvis. The visitors scored five tries, three successfully converted, securing the win.
In their opening Premiership match, Pontypool faced a 27-38 loss against Newport. Pooler led 20-12 after half an hour with tries from wing Ewan Rosser and centre Joel Mahoney, both converted by outside-half Matthew Jarvis, who also added two penalties. However, Newport mounted a comeback just before halftime, scoring three converted tries to go ahead 33-20. In the second half, prop Sam Cochrane scored Pooler’s third try, with Jarvis converting to narrow Newport’s lead to six points. Nevertheless, the Black and Ambers had the final say with an unconverted try.
Pontypool defeated Swansea 20-17 at Pontypool Park last weekend. The home team took a 14-10 lead at halftime, courtesy of tries by wing Huw Anderson and flanker Scott Matthews, both converted by outside-half Matthew Jarvis. Swansea scored a converted try and added a penalty. In the second half, the teams were deadlocked at 17-17 with ten minutes to go after a Jarvis penalty and a Whites converted try. However, Jarvis sealed the match with a match-winning penalty in the 75th minute.
Looking at their history, Aberavon and Pontypool have met 30 times in the Welsh National League. Currently, Aberavon leads with 18 wins to Pontypool’s 11, with one game resulting in a draw. At the Talbot Athletic Ground, Aberavon holds a strong record of 13 wins to Pontypool’s 2, including a run of seven consecutive victories at this venue. They last met at the ground in the league twelve seasons ago with the Wizards securing a 40-16 victory.
The game on Saturday will be officiated by Ben Connor as the referee, with support from Jason Bessant and Rhodri Morgan in the roles of assistants.