"This is your captain speaking..."
We travelled down to Stradey Park for our last away game, with a big build up to the game, being televised live and being Llanelli RFC’s last match at the famous old ground.
There was a mood of anticipation, and we expected to see a big turnout of home supporters for the occasion – but no… as ever the Ponty faithful outnumbered their hosts by about three or four to one. Without delving into the politics of the game, I thought the Scarlets were supposed to be a region, but having seen their game against Bristol on TV the following week, I wasn’t sure if the Scarlets or Llanelli were playing. I feel sorry for Llandovery RFC, that’s all I can say!
The Llanelli game itself turned out to be a decent performance, and we were happy to go in at half time drawing 10 points apiece, having faced a strong wind for the first forty minutes. The commentators played down the weather factor, but they should have been down on the pitch, they would have known different! We did enough to secure the four points for the win, and most importantly, an AWAY win.
A stop off was requested on the way home from Llanelli, being Shinko’s thirtieth birthday, and the destination was Papa Sanchos bar in Swansea, owned by Nathan and Aled Brew. A number of the squad stayed on there, and a late night was had by all!
The squad were carrying a number of knocks after the game, so a light training session followed on the Tuesday night. The forwards were made to work hard on kick off receipts, as that was a facet of play which had let us down in previous games.
And so on to the home game against Aberavon. The talk from Johnsy and Chief all week had been of maintaining a 100% home record, to make Sardis a fortress, with the “House of Pain” mentioned on a few occasions. We expected to face a powerful pack with dangerous runners behind, and knew that the Wizards were a team not to be taken lightly. With our “old” coach Simon King in charge a physical encounter was in the offing!
There was a relaxed atmosphere before the match, which for a
while had me concerned, but in the warm up session, all my fears
were allayed. Our set pieces proved to be a massive factor, and we
were dominant up front, defended well and kept on the front foot
for most of the game, apart from a few lapses of concentration. The
100% home record was kept intact – job done!
Typical of Rhys Lloyd, in the post match huddle he was heard to shout, “Welcome to the House of Pain!”
Once more there was a big crowd at the Aberavon match, and their contribution was appreciated by the boys.
We have another televised game coming up, against traditionally tough opponents in Pontypool – a proud club with a similar pedigree to ourselves. Its good to see Pooler back in the top flight of Welsh club rugby, where they belong. Our preparations will have to be spot on again this week – we must keep the ball rolling!