Rugby Union: Pontypool's sweet revenge

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Newport. . . .5

Pontypool. . 14

ANOTHER example of the genius of Mark Ring gained Pontypool two vital points in their grim battle against relegation. Furthermore, it gave Pontypool huge satisfaction for, according to their forward, John Perkins, Newport are their deadly enemies. Perkins says Newport have systematically poached their players, as evidenced by the fact that five of yesterday's Newport pack were ex-Pontypool.

Newport had lost only one of their previous seven games and, according to their highly respected former manager David Watkins, have shown signs of improvement after cleaning out what he calls the moaners and whingers.

It was not, however, Newport's day, for they squandered too many opportunities in what was hardly a friendly encounter in the glutinous morass of Rodney Parade.

In the old days Pontypool would have put most teams to the sword in such conditions. As it was, stiffened by the Western Samoan lock Matt Keenan, they gave their old team-mates a torrid time, enabling Mark Ring to weave his taunting magic behind the scrum and allowing him to help set up a try and kick three penalty goals from four attempts, while Newport missed seven penalties: three by David Rees and four by Jason Williams.

Newport started the game much the better side and led 5-0 at half-time after an early try by Jason Williams. In the second period Ring kicked his superlative penalty goals.

And after the Pontypool locks Matthew Francis and Matt Keenan had driven the ball up the middle, Ring went on one of his wanderings runs, enabling another outstanding Pontypool forward, Garreth Taylor, to put Hugh Jones in at the corner for the try which completed Pontypool's day of sweet bliss.

Newport: Try Williams. Pontypool: Try Jones; Penalties Ring 3.

Newport: D Rees (capt); M Puddy, M Yendle, D Hughes, J Goodchild; J Williams, D Llewellyn; A Dibble, A Peacock, J Alvis, N Jones, C Wyatt (M Voyle, 61), A Carter, R Goodey, C Scott.

Pontypool: P Armstrong; H Jones, P Taylor, M Taylor, B Taylor; M Ring (capt), M de Maid; D Thomas, D Crimmins, B Phillips, M Francis, M Keenan, J Short (M Taylor, 41), G Taylor, D Earland.

Referee: B Wallis (WRU).