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News 2012-13

Preview to Pontypridd (A – take 2)

04/04/2013

Dead Rubber at the House of Pain - Jersey and Ponty
get kinky

 B&I

'Dead Rubber' - it's one of those unfortunate phrases that turns
people off right from the start, like 'cold toilet seat', 'minimum
standards criteria' and 'Loyd Grossman'.

Unfortunately - if anyone's still reading - that's the reality for
Pontypridd and Jersey as they prepare to finish off pool 5 of the
British & Irish Cup at the same time as the winners of each
B&I pool square off in the quarter-finals.

The tie was originally scheduled for January 19th, but fell foul
of the first phase of the foul winter that the British Isles still
hasn't shaken off almost three months later.

Leeds and Leinster 'A' did manage to contest their pool match on
the same day on an artificial pitch at the West Park Leeds' ground
at Bramhope, and the 30-30 draw was enough to ensure the Irish side
won the pool, rendering Welsh and Channel Islands' efforts
elsewhere of no consequence, snow or no snow.

At first it seemed possible that the final tie might be cancelled
altogether - this is in fact what happened to the Connacht v
Newport tie in pool 4. But that was due to lack of interest, a
phenomenon never likely to afflict the rugby-mad enclave of
Pontypridd. A home game at Ponty's Sardis Road ground, nicknamed
'the House of Pain', is still an occasion, and when the hosts
expressed a wish to fulfil the fixture, Jersey readily agreed to
honour their commitment.

Neither side will be at full strength for the clash. Ponty have a
busy schedule of fixtures, with four Principality Premiership
fixtures remaining, and the prospect (they need another point to be
sure) of an appearance in the Grand Final (the league winners get
an automatic place in Wales, facing the winner of a
second-versus-third eliminator). To those five games, add at least
one more in the SWALEC Welsh Cup - the semi-final against
Carmarthen on April 13th - and a potential final appearance on
top.

While Ponty have many more games, they are moreorless assured of
their league status. Jersey have just two more league games, plus
the annual Siam Cup against Jersey, but are at a critical stage of
their 2012/13 campaign. A win against 12th-place Doncaster at St
Peter on April 13th will almost certainly secure the Island side's
status in the RFU Championship for another season. Defeat would be
a body-blow and open the door to an agonising final week of the
league season.

As a result it will be a changed Jersey side, but nevertheless one
keen to impress as they achieve some 'game-time', a commodity which
has been in short supply for many of them.

News from the Jersey camp
With a season-defining clash against Doncaster in the RFU
Championship looming large, Jersey's Director of Rugby Ben Harvey
has made a host of changes to his squad for the British & Irish
Cup tie against Pontypridd.

The pool five clash, which kicks off at 7.30pm on Friday, was
originally scheduled for January but was postponed due to heavy
snow (see below) in South Wales, including Ponty's Sardis Road
home. Neither side are able to qualify for the B&I
quarter-finals, which also take place this weekend, but both clubs
agreed to honour the fixture.

Sardis

Jersey's starting XV includes 13 players who have featured in
the club's Championship campaign so far, including experienced
campaigners like Ross Broadfoot, Ashley Maggs and Donovan Sanders
in the backs, plus Talite Vaioleti, Paul Rodgers and skipper Graham
Bell in the pack.

Leicester Tigers -7169

Scrum-half Joel Dudley (pictured above during the friendly with
Leicester Tigers last August) is set to make his first competitive
appearance in a Jersey shirt after a season plagued by injury,
while there is a welcome return to the 1st XV for prop Myles
Landick, the Jersey Groundsman who is now fully recovered from the
knee injury sustained towards the end of last season. 'Mylo' is
pictured below in action (centre) against Cinderford last
season.

Mylo p

Jersey's bench includes young scrum-half Harry Cochrane, flanker
Tim Corson and a stalwart of Island rugby, prop Jim Brimelow*, plus
two forwards with considerable Championship/ B&I experience
this season, Kingsley Lang and David Felton.

* Brimelow's last game for Jersey was the 34-38 win at Hertford
in April 2009. Of tomorrow's squad, Messrs Rodgers, Vaioleti,
O'Brien and Felton were also involved, along with others such as
Sam Tuia, Mikey Le Bourgeois, John Allo, Marcus Nobes and 'Chalky'
White.

Jersey squad, sponsored by Locate Jersey and
jersey.com

1. Myles Landick
2. Charlie Clare
3. James Gethings
4. James Voss
5. Paul Rodgers
6. Graham Bell (capt)
7. Eoghan Nihill
8. Talite Vaioleti
9. Joel Dudley
10. Ross Broadfoot
11. Chris Levesley
12. Ashley Maggs
13. Donovan Sanders
14. James Copsey
15. Glenn Bryce

Replacements
David Felton
Jim Brimelow
Kingsley Lang
Tim Corson
Harry Cochrane
Brendan O'Brien
Sam Fuller

Ponty News
Pontypridd's season takes a virtual step back in time on Friday
evening 5th April as the club belatedly rounds off its British
& Irish Cup pool five campaign. English Championship side
Jersey are the visitors to Sardis Road for a match that kicks off
at 7:30pm.

The encounter was originally scheduled for 19th January but was
postponed due to a snowbound and deep frozen Ponty pitch. Both
clubs agreed to honour the fixture although it has no bearing on
qualification from the pool stage of the competition.

For the record Pontypridd have consolidated second place in the
pool whilst Jersey are placed fourth. The two clubs battled out a
physical 20pts all draw over in Jersey way back in October
2012.

Whilst both clubs have their eyes on bigger prizes as the season
draws to a close - Ponty gunning for dual glory in the Welsh league
and cup and Jersey battling for survival in the English
Championship - the BIC tie between them still stands as a
competitive fixture to be won.

selection policy for this match. Debuts are given to Blues Academy
and Wales Youth full back Aled Summerhill, formerly of Ponty Youth,
and second row Simon Williams on permit from Llantrisant. The team
will be skippered by centre Dafydd Lockyer who resumes a midfield
partnership with Wales under 20 prospect Tom Pascoe.

Sidelined with recent injury are full back Geraint Walsh with a
shoulder strain and flanker Wayne O'Connor who suffered a broken
nose in the Welsh Cup game at Ebbw Vale last weekend.

Pontypridd:
15.Aled Summerhill. 14.Matthew Nuthall. 13.Dafydd Lockyer - cpt.
12.Tom Pascoe. 11.Owen Jenkins. 10.Dai Flanagan. 9.Carl
Thomas.
1.Stuart Williams. 2.Jack Dando. 3.Bradley Thyer. 4.Simon
Williams. 5.Cory Hill. 6.Ed Siggery. 7.Tom Hetherington. 8.Owen
Sheppeard.

Subs: 16.Gareth James. 17.Simon Humberstone. 18.Gareth Wyatt.
19.Huw Dowden. 20.Jake Thomas. 21.Jordan Sieniawski. 22.Scott
Roberts. 23.Keiron Jenkins.

Any Previous?
Jersey and Ponty drew 20-20 at St Peter in October in the opening
round of the B&I. Jersey's Ben Harvey was disappointed, saying
he felt Ponty were "there for the taking" in a game where the
penalty count was 19-7 to the Channel Islanders.

Jersey took an early lead through a 'Booj' penalty, but Craig
Locke's try took the visitors ahead until Nicky Griffiths (below)
crossed on the stroke of half-time for a 13-7 lead.

Nicky

The visitors levelled the match early in the second half, but a
penalty try on the hour (each Jersey try sparked a massive fight -
score against Ponty at your peril!) seemed to have brought control
back to the hosts. Tom Pascoe's 75th-minute try gave Dai Flanagan
the chance to level things up with a conversion.

A full match report can be found HERE.

History of Pontypridd
The club was formed in 1876 by a group of young men who had moved
to the area as part of the Industrial Revolution. One of the early
players, Edward Treharne, was named in the first-ever Welsh
international team in 1881.

Ponty Logo

The club resumed rugby after the Great War with "no ground, no
kit, and not a penny to their name" but developed slowly to become
an established and successful club, albeit one who retained an
'unfashionable' tag and were outside the perceived 'Big Five' in
Wales.

The unfashionable status didn't stop Ponty having two more Welsh
representatives, Glynn Davies and Russell Robbins, in the decade
after World War Two ended, nor from winning the unofficial Welsh
league in 1962/63, and in 1974 the club moved to its present home
in Sardis Road.

The new ground witnessed considerable success, with Welsh
Championship titles in 1976, 1978 and 1979. There may have been
less to shout about in the 80s, but the 1990s saw an appearance in
the inaugural Heineken Cup in 1995/96, and a first-ever Welsh Cup
triumph the same season, repeated in 2002, 2006, and 2011. In 1997
Ponty won the league title, and this was followed by further league
titles in 2011 and 2012. By this stage there was a Grand Final to
conclude proceedings - Ponty enjoyed mixed fortunes in the
showpiece game, with an 18-24 defeat to Llanelli in 2011 being
followed by a 15-13 win in May 2012.

Famous players of recent years have included Neil Jenkins, current
Head Coach Dale McIntosh, Morgan Stoddart, Gethin Jenkins, Martyn
Williams, Matthew Rees, Ceri Sweeney and Michael Owen, although the
majority earned their honours after leaving Ponty following the
contentious introduction of regional rugby in Wales in 2003. There
was a one-season alliance with Bridgend as the Celtic Warriors, but
this franchise was disbanded in 2004, since when Ponty has
continued as a club side - one of Wales' most successful.

Dale -mcintosh

Dale McIntosh, known to all as 'Chief' (and pictured
above) has been with Pontypridd since his arrival in Wales
from his native New Zealand in 1989. He made 454 appearances as a
player prior to retiring in 2007, when he became Assistant Coach
under Paul John, graduating to Head Coach in 2010. McIntosh won two
Welsh caps in 1996/97 against South Africa and England.

Tour stories: Pontypridd in Jersey
Ponty made three tours to Jersey between 1968 and 1971. The Welsh
team were undefeated in six matches on the Island, but eye-witness
accounts from players involved - several of them will be here today
- testify to some full-blooded encounters, accompanied by
enthusiastic 'après-ski' sessions in the old Clubhouse.

In 1968 Jersey's 1st XV, featuring names like Mike Engleman, Bobby
Furness, Bill Lavarack, captain Brian Screen and debutant Mick
Curzons actually led 9-8 at half-time against a Ponty side
containing two of the club's most legendary names: the
four-times-capped Welsh flanker Tommy David, whose other
claim-to-fame was a role in 'that try' by 'that fellow' Gareth
Edwards for the Baa-baa's in 1973. And Bob Penberthy, 'the bionic
elbow', who played an astonishing 877 games for Ponty between 1961
and 1985.

Header Rock on Tommy

The 1968 game was eventually lost by 9-30, with the home points
through Barry Jones's try and two Peter Burger penalties, and a
year later the Jersey 1st XV competed gamely again before going
down 0-15, with Gareth Rees scoring a hat-trick of tries for Ponty.
Dermot McQuillan came closest to scoring a try for Jersey but was
bundled into a corner flag.

In 1971 the JEP ran the headline 'Welsh Visitors Dazzle - But
Island Side Not Disgraced' above a match report of a 9-34 defeat.
Furness skippered Jersey that day and our President David Lapidus
played in the game, while his predecessor Engleman was referee.
Jersey's points came from Furness with a drop-goal (4), Roger
Thomas's try (3) and Ian Hamilton's conversion (2).

The Saturday warm-up games against Jersey's 'A' XV were
unsurprisingly not as close, to the extent that Jersey's only
points in the three encounters were from a John Langlois try in
1968. However the 'A' games may have played a significant role in
softening up the tourists for Sunday's 1st team encounter.

Many thanks to Richard Evans, the Pontypridd historian, for
unearthing details of these games, and to Brian Screen for
obtaining cuttings from the JEP with full match reports.

Following the game
Don't forget that you can keep up-to-speed with news from Ponty v
Jersey through the following channels:

• Live commentary on BBC Radio Jersey Friday from 7pm (available
online and on your transistor-wireless device. This is a game that
might have tested other stations elsewhere in the world who had
made an 'Every Game Live' pledge at the start of the season. But
the redoubtable Richard Collinson has summoned all his Olympic
torch-bearing spirit to make sure the Beeb honour their commitments
in the same way as the two clubs are doing
• Preview in Friday's JEP, and full match coverage on
Monday
• Scoreflashes on @jerseyrfc Twitter and the 'Rolling Maul' rugby
forum
• Match reaction on Channel 103 on Saturday afternoon
• Reports and match action on Channel TV online and on Monday
evening at 6.15pm; and on BBC Channel Islands on Monday evening at
6.30pm

Other rugby this weekend 
There is one other make-up tie in the B&I , the pool 1
encounter between Bridgend and Ulster 'A', a.k.a. the Ravens
against the, er, Ravens, which takes place at Brewery Field in
Bridgend on Friday (k-o 7.30pm)

The B&I quarter-final line-up is as follows:
* Friday: Newcastle v Nottingham
* Saturday: Bedford v Llanelli
* Sunday: Cornish Pirates v Munster 'A'; Bristol v
Leinster 'A'

There is one RFU Championship game this weekend, Moseley hosting
Leeds on Friday night. A win would make Moseley mathematically safe
from relegation, although reality is that this is a two-horse race
between Jersey and Doncaster. Leeds will want to make the most of
their game-in-hand to reclaim fourth place (and the play-off spot
it earns) from Bristol.

There is also quarter-final action in both the Heineken Cup and
Amlin Challenge Cup, leaving rugby fans who have the right
facilities (cable TV, compliant spouses and full refrigerators)
with an opportunity to hunker down on the sofa for 72 hours,
starting when Gloucester entertain Biarritz tonight
(Thursday).

And Finally

Local action involving Jersey teams sees LQ Lydian Lions travel to
St Jacques in Guernsey on Saturday, the same day that Banks
Ladies host New Ash Green at Grainville in a league encounter (KO
12noon), and there's a double-header at St Peter when
Jersey Athletic play Banks and Wanderers host Beeches (both
games at 2pm). On Sunday Jersey Colts travel to Petersfield.

I'd love to claim authorship of this, but someone else got there
first. Never mind, it's worth repeating: you know you're a
true Welsh rugby fan when... you are more worried about the
rumblings in North's career than the rumblings in North Korea.

Ay-thang-kyow!

Iechyd da, and enjoy your weekend's rugby

Tom Innes
 

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