Pontypool Earn Hat-trick Against Neath To Make WRU Cup Final

Pontypool celebrate victory over Neath last season. Pic: Pontypool RFC.

Pontypool Earn Hat-trick Against Neath To Make WRU Cup Final

By David Williams

Pontypool earned the right to face Ystrad Rhondda in the final of the WRU Championship Cup at Principality Stadium on Sunday, 23 April thanks to a 26-9 semi-final win over Neath.

It was the third time this season Pooler had managed too overcome their closest rivals for the Admiral Championship title, but they didn’t get things their own way throughout a classic cup tie.

The win means Leighton Jones side will be heading back to the home of Welsh rugby forty years on from their first WRU Challenge Cup win at the old National Ground, Cardiff Arms Park.

A try on the stroke of time from wing Deon Smith made victory safe in a game in which defences ruled the roost for long periods. Steff Williams kicked three out of four penalty shots for Neath in the second half after the opening 40 minutes had ended 6-0 in Pooler’s favour.

Two penalties from Matthew Jarvis edged the unbeaten Championship leaders ahead before Garin Price scored five minutes after coming on as a second half replacement. His try from a driving line-out was improved by Jarvis to make it 13-0.

Williams three penalties then cut the gap to seven points to set-up a nail-biting finish. Neath then picked up a yellow card when Morgan Thomas was penalised for a high tackle and Jarvis kicked a penalty to stretch the gap to 10 points.

Neath went for broke, but Smith was put over by Joel Mahony for a try that Jarvis converted to complete the victory.

Back in the Championship, third placed Bargoed saw their home game with Ystalyfera fall foul of the weather, but cup finalists Ystrad Rhondda beat both the weather and local rivals Beddau to triumph 19-12 away from home.

Cole Morgan, Josh Williams and Jarrad Llewellyn all come up with first-half tries as Ystrad burst into a 19 point lead. Williams also converted one of the tries to make it 19-0 at the break.

Beddau battled back in what turned out to be a game of two halves. Ystrad lost their outside half, Liam Greening, to injury and had to reshuffle their back division. Then they lost prop Tom Foulkes to a yellow card at the death.

Beddau got back into the game with a try from Sam Edwards that Mitch Jones improved and finally grabbed a consolation score, and a losing bonus-point, when Liam Jones crashed over at the death.

Glamorgan Wanderers had to come from behind at home against Cross Keys before winning 32-26. Connah Vaughan twice and Tom Gillsepie crossed for tries for Keys to earn then 19-12 lead before the home side drew level, went ahead with two penalties, but then fell behind 26-25 before a final try earned them victory.

Bedwas were comfortable 45-17 winners at home over Maesteg Quins, running in seven tries with a hat-trick for Lewis Crane, while Narberth handed out a lesson to the students of Cardiff Met in a 31-12 home triumph. Bottom of the table Tata Steel went down 22-7 to Trebanos after two thumping defeats to Pontypool.

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