'Tryline and Touchline': Pitch-side video and Laura Kerslake chats to Rhodri Wells post-match...
By: Paul Hopkins
A plucky Swansea team came within a couple of inches of taking the Premiership champions to extra time as they battled hard and never gave up against all the odds.
It was the All Whites who came out of the blocks the quickest when winger Andrew Claypole sprinted through the middle, forcing the visitors to kill the ball. Fly half Ian Brooks kicked for touch and number eight Rory Gallagher came close to scoring following the lineout, only for the Pontypridd pack to kill the ball. Brooks kicked the three points.
With Swansea enjoying much of the opening period, it was rather against the run of play when Ponty centre Dafydd Lockyer intercepted a loose pass to race under the posts from half way. Fly half Lewis K Williams converted.
Pontypridd had an opportunity to extend the lead after 10 minutes when the Swansea pack was penalised for diving over the top of a ruck, but Lewis K Williams missed his effort at goal.
Number eight Dan Godfrey charged to within a few metres of the Swansea line, but when they got the ball out wide, the home defence stepped offside in midfield. Lewis K Williams opted to kick at goal, and added three points.
Almost immediately from the restart, the visitors were penalised for holding onto possession after the tackle, and Brooks made them pay with a successful kick at goal.
At times the match resembled a game of chess with both sides kicking for territory, before errors in the difficult conditions brought an end to potentially promising moves.
Hooker Paul John began a Swansea attack by charging over the half way line, and Claypole sprinted down the wing, only to lose the ball forward in the tackle.
On the stroke of half time Pontypridd scored their first try when winger Lewis I Williams raced into the Swansea twenty-two, only for prop Ryan Thomas to dive off his feet at the ruck. Lewis K Williams kicked to touch and from the lineout lock Hemi Barnes burrowed through a pile of bodies to score in the corner. Lewis K Williams missed the conversion.
Half-time:- Swansea 6 Pontypridd 15
The Whites began well after the interval and replacement winger Josh Flye made a break into the Pontypridd half, with centre Jedd Evans in support, but his chip ahead was dealt with by the defence.
The visitors’ forwards drove deep into Swansea territory, spearheaded by lock Chris Dicomidis, forcing the home pack offside at the breakdown. Lewis K Williams kicked the penalty goal to extend his side’s lead to 12 points.
Leiws K Williams then missed a drop goal, but Whites lock Gavin Ronan was penalised for a high tackle. Williams kicked to the corner and Barnes was driven up to the line, with the supporting Lewis I Williams tackled a metre short, before the ball was lost forward.
Swansea looked to counterattack immediately through Claypole, but Brooks took the wrong option by kicking to the corner when he had two men outside him.
Moments later full back Liam Popham scooped up a loose ball and raced clear to score a try in the corner. Brooks missed the conversion.
Swansea were penalised for offside at the ruck, but Lewis K Williams missed his effort at goal.
With Pontypridd struggling to put their opponents away, the fly half missed another penalty following a huge scrum that forced the Swansea front row upwards.
Evans came within inches of scoring right at the death following a chip through by Brooks, but the Pontypridd defence managed to get back and ground the ball dead to clinch a place in the second round of the cup.
Full time:- Swansea 11 Pontypridd 18
Tries:- Liam Popham (67)
Pens:- Ian Brooks (4, 27)
Tries:- Dafydd Lockyer (8), Hemi Barnes (40+3)
Cons:- Lewis K Williams (9)
Pens:- Lewis K Williams (26, 50)
Venue:- St Helen’s, Swansea
Referee:- Ben Whitehouse
Weather:- Rain, 8C
Man of the match:- Hemi Barnes
15 Liam Popham
14 Andrew Claypole
13 Jedd Evans
12 Tom Williams
11 Richard Thomas (rep: Josh Flye 41)
10 Ian Brooks
9 Rhodri Wells
1 Neil White (rep: Richard Murphy 51)
2 Paul John (rep: Ricky Guest 57)
3 Ryan Thomas (rep: Mitchell Walsh 74)
4 Gavin Ronan
5 Sam Kiley
6 Mike Sully
7 Jack Perkins
8 Rory Gallagher (rep: Jon Fox 57)
16 Mitchell Walsh
17 Richard Murphy
18 Ricky Guest
19 Jon Fox
20 Andrew Hughes
21 Scott Maynard
22 Jack Wilson
23 Josh Flye
15 Geraint Walsh (rep: Gavin Dacey 71)
14 Lewis I Williams
13 Adam Thomas
12 Dafydd Lockyer
11 Chris Clayton
10 Lewis K Williams
9 Lloyd Thomas (rep: Joel Raikes 62)
1 Chris Phillips
2 Ashleigh James (rep: Keiron Assiratti 59)
3 Mitchell Auger (rep: Jordan Grass 59)
4 Hemi Barnes
5 Chris Dicomidis
6 Jake Thomas
7 Wayne O’Connor (rep: Rhys Shellard 69)
8 Dan Godfrey (rep: Huw Dowden 59)
16 Joel Raikes
17 Troy Cusack
18 Gavin Dacey
19 Huw Dowden
20 Rhys Shellard
21 Shaun O’Rourke
22 Jordan Grass
23 Keiron Assiratti