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WRU Admiral National Championship Preview – May 10, 2023

When Pontypool clinched promotion to the WRU Indigo Premiership last weekend, local council leader Anthony Hunt declared a Bank Holiday.

Okay, so it was already a day off due to the coronation of some king or other, but there’s only one pledge of allegiance that matters for Pooler fans – and that’s the one to the men wearing red, white and black, rather than red, white and blue.

If Pontypool win the Admiral National Championship then who knows what Torfaen Borough Council’s leader might announce?

Another local Bank Holiday? Free beer in the pubs? Independence for Torfaen?

The winning of the championship won’t be done on Wednesday night when Pooler are away at mid-table Beddau, but they could be halfway there.

With four matches still to play, Pooler need 10 more points to be certain of becoming champions, a feat that should be in their capability as they are yet to lose a match this season.

Only third-placed Neath can catch them as Bargoed – in second – have just one match remaining and are six points adrift.

Like Pooler, Neath have four games left, starting with Wednesday’s home game against Cross Keys, and are 10 points behind the leaders.

In the other midweek fixture, mid-table Maesteg Quins host Ystalyfera who would be bottom of the table were it not for the continuing struggles of Tata Steel.

In previous years, Pooler have been denied promotion to the Premiership through a combination of ring-fenced blockades imposed by the Welsh Rugby Union, strict criteria for facilities which they didn’t meet, or just shock defeats when it really mattered at the season’s end.

None of those look a real possibility this time around and Pooler can start the party by winning at Beddau.

They should be familiar enough with their opponents as they beat Beddau, 61-0 at home, only last weekend.

The Green and Golds found that match tough going and they are unlikely to find it a whole lot easier against the Pooler machine second time around.

One player who will not be playing for Pontypool next season in the Premiership, however, is prop Top Piper who has announced he is to retire at the end of the season.

The 35-year-old joined Pooler at the start of the campaign after a long career at Caerphilly, Newport HSOB, Llanharan and Newport.

“It’s the right time with work commitments and family, it’s getting a bit too much and this year has taken a lot out of me,” said Piper.

Having won the Championship Cup and sealed promotion, Piper is now targeting the perfect send off by clinching the league title.

“That is one of the reasons why I came to the club in the first place,” he said.

“A club like Pontypool deserves to be in the Premiership and they have proved it year after year that they should be there. It’s what the club deserves and I wanted to be a part of that.

Admiral National Championship

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Maesteg Quins v Ystalyfera (7.15pm)

Neath   v Cross Keys (7.15pm)

Beddau v Pontypool (7.30pm)

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