By: Paul Hopkins
Swansea were knocked out of the Specsavers National Cup at the first hurdle as they fell to a disappointing defeat at Championship side Pontypool.
The Whites were afforded an early chance when centre Jack Evans charged down a Richard Powell kick, but he wasn’t able to control the ball and the move broke down.
Number eight Ieuan Jones made a charging run through the middle, allowing Pontypool to use their backs. Flanker Scott Matthews spotted a gap in midfield and raced into the twenty-two, but the supporting centre Amosa Nove became isolated and gave away a penalty.
A superb run by Evans saw the Whites attack, but winger Ryan Griffiths was well wrapped up. However, the tackle was deemed dangerous and Swansea were able to kick deep into Pooler territory. The home side strayed offside at the lineout and fly half James Davies kicked his side into the lead.
Flanker Adam Stratton cleverly stole a high ball from the restart and lock Shaun O’Rourke gave away a penalty, but Powell hit the post with his effort at goal.
The home side were soon back in possession and offside in the Swansea defence saw Powell chip to the corner. Lock Curtis Gregory collected clean lineout ball and, although the Swansea pack initially repelled the drive, Matthews pealed off a maul to score under the posts. Powell converted.
Full back Geraint Walsh struggled to clear the ball from inside his own dead ball line with his kick charged down. The visitors’ pack advanced from the scrum five, earning a penalty, which Evans chipped to touch, but he was turned over during the next phase, allowing the home side to clear the danger.
Hooker Darren Hughes was yellow carded for a punch in a maul so Evans chipped to touch, but a dogged Pooler defence turned over possession.
Scrum half Chris Morgans made a break through the middle and number eight Duane Eager provided support, but Griffiths failed to beat his man out wide, throwing a forward pass back inside.
Morgans fed prop Tom Northy who charged through to set up an attacking platform and a long pass saw winger Nathan Trowbridge crash over to score in the corner. James Davies converted.
Half-time:- Pontypool 7 Swansea 10
A powerful scrum by the Pooler front eight earned a penalty just moments into the second half. Powell chose to kick at goal and he successfully tied the scores at 10 apiece.
Morgans took a quick tap penalty and raced up to half way, but Powell collected the high kick and stepped into touch.
The visitors bagged a second try out of nothing when Eager charged down a clearance kick and drew in a tackler to send Trowbridge over for his second touch down of the afternoon. James Davies missed the conversion.
The home side responded with an unstoppable 20 metre maul by the forwards, which resulted in a try for captain Matthews. Powell missed the conversion.
Powell turned down a kickable penalty, opting to chip to the corner instead. The decision looked to have paid off by the visitors managed to prevent the ball from being grounded. A Pontypool mistake at the scrum five ended the move.
Centre Pat Lewis made a probing run out wide with replacement centre Kieran Meek in support. Scrum half Aaron Quick picked up possession from the ruck and held off a Harry Davies tackle to score. Powell converted.
The home side scored a fourth try soon after when Meek powered upfield and replacement scrum half Martin Luckwell was on hand to score with his first touch since coming on as a replacement. Powell converted.
Full-time:- Pontypool 29 Swansea 15
Tries:- Scott Matthews (17, 53)
Cons:- Richard Powell (18, 67, 71)
Pens:- Richard Powell (44)
Yellow cards:- Darren Hughes (27)
Tries:- Nathan Trowbridge (39, 50)
Cons:- James Davies (40)
Pens:- James Davies (10)
Venue:- Pontypool Park
Weather:- Sunny, 19C
Man of the match:- Scott Matthews
15 Geraint Walsh
14 Jordan Thomas (rep: Lewis Ball 30-40)
13 Pat Lewis
12 Amosa Nove (rep: Kieran Meek 51)
11 Marcus Jones
10 Richard Powell (rep: Clayton Gullis 79)
9 Aaron Quick (rep: Martin Luckwell 68)
1 Sam Cochrane (rep: Arron Coundley 47)
2 Darren Hughes (rep: Lewis Ball 79)
3 Craig Price (rep: Scott Evans 74)
4 Curtis Gregory (rep: Ben Sparks 47)
5 Rhys Clarke
6 Scott Matthews
7 Adam Stratton (rep: Rob Nash 76)
8 Ieuan Jones
16 Scott Evans
17 Arron Coundley
18 Lewis Ball
19 Martin Luckwell
20 Kieran Meek
21 Clayton Gullis
22 Ben Sparks
23 Rob Nash
15 Max Nagy
14 Ryan Griffiths
13 Gareth Rees
12 Jack Evans (rep: Keiran Charles 71)
11 Nathan Trowbridge
10 James Davies (rep: Steffen Williams 71)
9 Chris Morgans (rep: Tom Lucas 74)
1 Tom Northy (rep: Tom Sloane 54)
2 Owen Thomas (rep: Shawn Howard 71)
3 Greg Cunniffe (rep: Alun Dew 58)
4 Shaun O’Rourke
5 Owen Morgan (rep: Huw Sutton 54)
6 Harry Davies
7 Matthew Moore (rep: Sam Langford 40)
8 Duane Eager ©
16 Shawn Howard
17 Tom Sloane
18 Alun Dew
19 Huw Sutton
20 Sam Langford
21 Tom Lucas
22 Steffen Williams
23 Keiran Charles