CHRIS KIRWAN SAYS: Spare a thought for the Steelmen
WHAT’S worse, having your Premiership hopes shattered in the courtroom or by the cruel bounce of a rugby ball?
The whopping bill for costs that faces Pontypool after their top flight fate was decided at the High Court probably swings the balance towards the former, but spare a thought for Ebbw Vale, another Gwent club with a proud history.
After all the legal to-and-fro, one important fact counted against Pooler – they were 13th in the playing meritocracy table.
This was not down to criteria. Judge Sir Raymond Jack stated in his judgment that Pontypool did not qualify for an A licence yet an appeal was successful when “an exception was granted”. It would therefore be hard to complain that others do not meet the criteria. Pooler weren’t good enough over the past six seasons – the 12 teams rate more highly on past performances… as did Ebbw Vale.
Ebbw, who head into the Championship as back-to-back Division One East champions, must think back to a fateful day on April 30, 2011.
They were facing Glamorgan Wanderers in a promotion/relegation play-off game at Cardiff Arms Park.
A penalty try put them into a 13-9 in the close stages before a chip over the Steelmen’s defence took a horrendous bounce over the head of Dorian Jones and straight into the grateful clutches of Wanderers flanker Josh Navidi.
He crossed for a try that denied Vale the chance to go up against Bridgend in a shootout for a place in the Premiership. Ebbw would have ranked eighth in the meritocracy table but to be in with a shout of being in the revamped top flight you had to be in the old one.
And with one cruel bounce of the ball their chances of being in the Premiership were gone.