THERE'S no point denying it, to some the stockpilers got their comeuppance last Friday.

Not those that with overflowing supermarket trollies that were bulk-buying bog roll or tins of beans but Pontypool, who suffered another dose of promotion pain in their bid for the Premiership.

Last summer Pooler bolstered their already strong squad with fresh blood in a bid to finally crack it and return to the top flight for the first time since their controversial demotion in 2012 and subsequent ill-advised legal battle with the Welsh Rugby Union that nearly destroyed the club.

Unlike 2017, 2018 and 2019, Leighton Jones' men weren't so clear of their rivals in the race for the Championship title that they were almost lapping them, but they were in good shape.

Bargoed's spirited chase meant that the champions could afford no slip-ups between now and April 25 when they were set to travel to face the Bulls.

With only five points separating the teams it was not guaranteed that the ribbons on the trophy would be red, black and white rather than light and dark blue.

But coronavirus has robbed us of a fascinating finale in the tussle for the top tier, and saved Bridgend's bacon (as it happens, the club that were the victims of Pooler's staggering 'Great Escape' in the 2009 Premiership).

The WRU cancelled all of their 2019/20 competitions last Friday. It was the correct decision, one that Pontypool themselves have backed.

South Wales Argus:

There were twists and turns ahead in the Pooler-Bargoed battle – bonus points were vital and it wasn't simply a procession to the April fixture when the Bulls would still be faced by a five-point gap.

We can all sit there with suggestions about fair solutions but it needed to be one rule for all.

Would Newbridge have won Division One East? Yes. They had a eight-point lead over Penallta plus a game in hand after winning 13 from 14 and drawing the other.

With such a considerable advantage there wouldn't have been many complaints had the trophy been handed over but then there is the issue of promotion with the Pigs then set for a play-off in their bid for a swift return to the Championship.

They were to face the winners of Division One East Central, and that was a much tighter battle between Treorchy, Rhydyfelin and Rumney.

There are similar situations at various levels throughout the country, leaving the WRU with little option but to call the whole thing off and reconvene some time after the summer.

But this was a new way of making Pontypool shoulders sag after they had ballsed things up in

2016, then won two titles while there was ring-fencing and then lost a promotion play-off to Llanelli that very few people actually felt needed to take place.

But while Pooler supporters sighed at the prospect of another year of Ynysydarren Park, Margam Sports Ground and Gelligaled Parkrather than the Rodney Parade, the Arms Park and Talbot Athletic Ground, some rivals' fans would have had a chuckle.

The Millwall motto of 'No-one likes us, we don't care' doesn't quite fit but it could be tinkered with to 'Plenty don't like us, we don't care'.

South Wales Argus:

Pontypool have been the moneybags of the second tier with Peter Jeffreys pumping millions into the club that he supported as a boy.

They could outbid top-flight sides and have a squad that would at least cope in the Premiership, as has been shown in the WRU National Cup, and could even challenge for the title with a bit more quality in key positions.

They have depth that Championship foes can only dream of with genuine competition for places and they have a strong backroom team, spearheaded by the impressive Jones, who suffered health issues at the start of the year.

Off the field, Pooler have plans to transform their historic but vandalism-hit home with fencing and a facelift of the grandstand and ground.

They are working in the local community and have linked with smaller clubs nearby, as was shown by the arrival of Adam Stratton, who was a hit after making the move from Pontypool United.

Everything is geared up towards a return to the Premiership… but that last step is proving tricky.

The consolation for Pontypool supporters is that these close calls will make that return to the Premiership – and don't worry, it will happen eventually – all the sweeter.

After so much woe it wouldn't have felt right to be waved through on a technicality after results decided by a pool panel or through average points tally.

Pooler want this to be done right and, while they do feel like a Premiership club in the second tier, everything about regime suggests that they won't be derailed by another year in the Championship.

This disappointment is freakish and not one of their own making as it was four years ago when they finished fifth when a quartet were going up.

There should be no demons from 2019/20, just the knowledge that they will have to be excellent in 2020/21 because Bargoed will be just as strong.

But Pooler can draw inspiration from a club that spend the last campaign worrying about swapping places with their Gwent rivals.

South Wales Argus:

Ebbw Vale were in disarray when they suffered relegation in 2010 but they rebuilt, first under Neil Edwards and then Jason Strange.

Two Division One East titles and then a pair of Championship crowns were followed by a well-deserved Premiership return.

A core of players stuck with the Steelmen throughout the process and made it to the Grand Final in their first season back in the semi-pro big time.

Ebbw fell short in 2015 but, with Nigel Davies reaping the rewards of Edwards and Strange, made no mistake in Pontypridd the following year.

Those Sardis Road celebrations should provide Pooler with inspiration.

It's sad that a number of experienced squad members won't now be able to represent the club in the Premiership but those that do won't be making up the numbers.

Pontypool might not be everybody's cup of tea but a strong reaction to so much promotion pain would surely make even their staunchest enemies doff their caps.