PONTYPOOL have cast aside all before them in claiming the Championship title for the last three seasons – but clinching a fourth in a row would surely be the sweetest of the lot.

After going through a second successive league campaign unbeaten, Pooler suffered heartache in May when they lost their Premiership play-off with Llanelli to miss out on promotion.

However, this time around the mandate is clear – win the Championship and Pooler will be back in the Premiership after an eight-year absence.

Leighton Jones’ charges have been the dominant force in recent years, with only the WRU’s ring-fencing of the top flight and Llanelli denying them the chance to go up.

With the likes of Bargoed, Bedwas, Neath and Cross Keys being relegated, this season’s Championship is expected to be a much tougher one for Pooler to win.

But Jones isn’t resting on his laurels and hasn’t been slow to bolster his squad for the campaign ahead, one that starts tomorrow when Pooler host Beddau (kick-off 2.30pm).

The Pontypool Park chief has made some significant signings during the summer.

Number eight Ieuan Jones and scrum-half Owain Leonard have swapped Cross Keys for Pontypool, the former returning to where it all began for him in senior rugby.

Ex-Bedwas and Newbridge fly-half Richard Powell has been recruited from Premiership champions Merthyr in a real coup for the club.

Flanker Adam Stratton has arrived from Pontypool United, lock Luke Fleming-Jones is in from Usk and centre Duan Thomas is a former Dragons academy player.

Monmouth duo Zenon Szwagrzak and Amosa Nove, Blaenavon’s Marcus Jones, Penallta’s Pat Lewis, Bedwas’ Sam Cochrane, Cross Keys’ Sam Evans and Ebbw Vale’s Rhys Clarke have all joined too.

Ollie Drake, Richard East and Ben Parry are among those to head for pastures new.