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07 April 2019 / Club News

MERTHYR 20 PONTYPOOL 18

14 MEN MERTHYR EDGE PONTYPOOL IN WRU CUP THRILLER

MERTHYR 20 PONTYPOOL 18(Ebbw Vale Saturday 6th April 2019)

(WRU Cup Semi Final).

Merthyr are still on course for the double-double after an epic WRU Cup semi-final victory over unbeaten championship side Pontypool. In front of a large crowd at Eugene Cross Ebbw Vale, it was Pontypool who had the first chance to take the lead after 1 minute but Pooler outside half Matthew Lewis going wide with his penalty attempt. Merthyr began to settle and took the lead with their first attack of the game, when a clean line out win just on the halfway line was spread wide by the Merthyr backs and when the ball reached wingman Teri Gee his neat kick ahead and chase with the ball bouncing back into his arms as he raced in for the opening score, full back Matthew Jarvis converting to give Merthyr a 7-0 lead. Both sides were guilty of little handling errors on the heavy playing surface as the game began to settle into a forward battle with the ironmen extending their lead when a kickable penalty was turned down, and a touch kick slotted deep inside the Pontypool 25. From the lineout the Merthyr forwards drove Pontypool back over their line with loosehead prop James Howe emerging with the ball, Jarvis converted to give Merthyr a 14-0 lead. Pontypool soon showed they can also catch and drive from the lineout as they scored their first try from a driving maul from a line out deep inside the Merthyr 25, with back row man Scott Matthews claiming the try, Lewis going wide with the kick. Errors began to creep into the Merthyr play which gave Pontypool confidence and get back into the game, and this was rewarded when Lewis slotted over two consecutive penalties on 34, and 40 minutes, to close the gap 14-11. The half ended in controversy with wingman and scorer Gee shown a harsh red card for leading his hand as he pushed off Pontypool wing Lloyd Lewis, who was replaced due to injury. Down to 14 men for the remainder of the game, Merthyr was made to work hard as Pontypool began to take the game to the cup holders, and this was evident when Lewis turned down a kick for goal but opted for the corner. From the lineout the Pooler pack drove at the Merthyr defense with Matthews crashing over for his second try of the night, Lewis converted, and Pooler had taken the lead 14-18 for the first time. Merthyr had to draw from all their experience to keep Pontypool at bay as they began to put several phases together and this was rewarded when Pooler gave away a penalty in front of the posts, with Jarvis slipping, but still managing to slot over the kick to close the gap 17-18. The Merthyr pack then began to dictate play with some good forward drives from Captain Locke and back row men Rees and Davies. Jarvis had the chance to put Merthyr back in front with a penalty from 35 meters but his effort went wide to the relief of the Pontypool side. With time running out, Merthyr threw everything at Pontypool looking for any score and a high tackle from a Pontypool forward gave Jarvis an opportunity with a penalty 45 meters out. As the crowd went silent the ever-reliable Jarvis made no mistake as the ball sailed between the posts to put Merthyr back in the lead 20-18 with 5 minutes remaining. The Merthyr pack then saw the game out to claim victory and book their place for a second year running in the WRU Cup final. This was an epic cup semi-final and credit to both sides, but the turning point was the red card sending off. The man of the match award went to the Match winning kicker Matthew Jarvis. Merthyr will face Cardiff in the final on Sunday 29th April at the national stadium as they attempt to retain the WRU Cup for a second year. This week the Ironmen are back in league action and travel to Rodney Parade to face the Black and ambers of Newport kick off 2:30 pm.

Merthyr: 15 M Jarvis,14 T Gee, 13 A Pinches,12 A Thomas,11 K Evans,10 G Davies,9 R Downes, 1 J Howe,2 R Williams, 3 J Rees, 4 B Murphy, 5 C Locke©, 6 J Thomas, 7 O Davies, 8 P Rees, 16 M Dwyer, 17 C Phillips, 18 L Jones, 19 H Barnes, 20 J Davies, 21 A Hoskins, 22 J Martin, 23 H Davies.

Scorers, T Gee 1t, J Howe 1t, M Jarvis 2c, 2 Pens

Referee Mike English (Caldicott).        

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