Pool sinking to rock bottom

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The Independent Online
Newport 33

Pontypool 16

Pontypool are pinning their hopes of a return to the top flight of Welsh rugby on a new £35,000-a-year coaching organiser.

Defeat at the home of their greatest rivals condemned them to Second Division rugby, which would have been unthinkable when Pontypool were dominating British club rugby in the late Seventies and Eighties.

But such is life these days in a wholly democratic league system and Pontypool have been planning for the inevitable for some time. Their ebullient chairman, John Perkins, is not the type to turn away from adversity and he has pledged that Pontypool will be back in the First Division come September 1996.

To that end the club intend announcing their new coaching set-up in the second week in May and the former Hawks Bay and Lansdown coach, Graeme Taylor, is currently topping their short-list.

If the Kiwi gets the job, he will face a mighty difficult task in moulding together a team of young players. All the experience that used to be the hallmark of the great Pontypool packs has now disappeared. In fact, there were virtually as many Pontypool stalwarts in the Newport pack as playing for the fallen Gwent giants.

One of them, Richard Goodey, hammered the first nail into the coffin with a fourth-minute try. Another ex-Pontypool skipper, Kevin Moseley, was also involved in the incident in which Pontypool's replacement lock, Andrew Newberry, was sent off midway through the second half for some indelicate footwork.

Newport managed two tries in each half, the second-half salvo from Duncan Hughes and Simon Enoch being particularly praiseworthy, but were hardly convincing. Neither, too, are they out of the relegation battle. They will have to repeat this win against bottom-but-one Dunvant if they are to stay in the First Division. If they lose, then they are virtually down as their final game takes them to the Arms Park to meet the champions- elect, Cardiff.

Newport: Tries Goodey, Roderick, Hughes, Enoch; conversions M Jones 2; penalties M Jones 3. Pontypool: Try Hewitt; conversion Williams; penalties Williams 3.

Newport: D Hughes; R Rees, S Enoch, M Yendle (M Hones, 21), M Llewellyn; D Rees, M Roderick; S Duggan, A Peacock, S Cronk, N Jones, K Moseley, B Atkins, R Goodey (capt), D Gray.

Pontypool: A Carr; K Walker, D Lynch (P Taylor, 35-39), M Taylor, H Jones; J Williams, W Morris (capt); S Haile, J Thomas, J Jones, L Mruk, C Billen (A Newberry, 19), M Squires, M Matthews, P Hewitt.

Referee: D Bevan (Clydach).