By: Paul Hopkins
Pontypridd ended Swansea’s eight match winning streak with a comfortable 31-19 victory at Sardis Road.
In the opening minute fly half Diggy Bird had a kick charged down on his own twenty-two, but it almost worked in Ponty’s advantage as centre Alex Knott collected the loose ball and made a break upfield, but he was turned over.
Swansea were penalised for offside at the ruck and a superb tap and go by Joel Raikes saw the scrum half race through the middle, catching out the Swansea defence. He then found Knott on his shoulder, who squeezed over to score. Bird converted.
The visitors looked to respond immediately and fly half Josh Thomas found touch deep inside the Pontypridd twenty-two with a penalty. A well worked move by the Whites’ backs saw centre Tom Williams break through a tackle, before handing a scoring pass to winger Gareth Rees. Thomas converted.
A clever chip through by Bird was chased down by winger Dale Stuckey, but full back Luke Griffiths dealt with the danger and cleared.
A great take at the lineout by flanker Callum Bowden sparked a visitors attack and winger Alex Webber dropped a high kick to the corner under no pressure. However, from the resulting scrum the home pack drove their counterparts off the ball, earning a penalty.
Pontypridd’s second try was a stylish effort as the lively Raikes raced through the middle from an advancing scrum and fired a well-timed pass out wide for Webber to score in the corner. Bird converted.
A high tackle by flanker Rhodri Jones gave the visitors a penalty, which scrum half Chris Morgans took quickly and sent winger Ryan Griffiths on a run out wide, but the home side turned over possession and cleared.
Bird kicked to the corner from a penalty and Rhodri Jones rose high at the lineout. The Ponty forwards rolled towards the line, only for the Whites to illegally pull down the maul, giving referee Aled Evans no option but to award a penalty try. Lock Jay Williams was also sent to the sin bin.
A superb break by Bird into the twenty-two set up an attack and Rhodri Jones was brought down, although the home side were penalised for holding on after the tackle.
Champagne rugby by the Ponty backs should have resulted in a bonus point try, but the last pass didn’t go to hand. However, a powerful scrum by the home pack drove Swansea off the ball and earned a penalty. The home side opted for an attacking scrum and after conferring with the TMO, Aled Evans awarded a penalty try and yellow carded Rees for a deliberate knock on.
Swansea looked to hit back just before half time and lock James Ratti took a lineout to send his forwards driving into the twenty-two, although number eight Alun Lawrence was yellow carded for pulling the maul down. The home side weathered the Whites’ pressure though and a mistake brought up half time.
Half-time:- Pontypridd 28 Swansea 7
After the interval scrum half Tom Ham darted forward from a quick tap penalty, but Thomas sliced his touch finder over the dead ball line.
Full back Ben Jones spotted a gap in the Swansea defence and raced through the middle, but the Whites gave away a penalty, which Ben Jones duly converted to extend his side’s lead to 24 points.
Prop Alex Jeffries became the third Swansea player to be shown a yellow card after committing a persistent scrummaging infringement.
A mis-timed kick by Tom Williams strayed out on the full, giving Ponty an opportunity to attack. Stuckey looked to have scored out wide, but the TMO judged a double movement.
Rees chipped ahead and almost regathered to score, but Ponty managed to get back to defend. However, Ben Jones was unable to get out of his own dead ball area and sliced his kick behind, gifting Swansea an attacking scrum.
From the set piece the Whites forwards remained patient with number eight Morgan Morris stretching over to score a try. Thomas converted.
The visitors bagged a surprise third try when Ponty struggled to clear from their own line and replacement hooker Paul John charged forward to send substitute winger Andrew Claypole over for a try. Thomas missed the conversion.
In the final stages the home side created an exciting move out wide that almost saw Stuckey sprint clear, but he was tackled into touch a couple of metres from the try line. A high tackle saw replacement fly half Lloyd Rowlands chip to touch, but Morris stole the lineout and the visitors cleared.
Next up for Pontypridd is a trip to Ebbw Vale, while Swansea host Cross Keys.
Full-time:- Pontypridd 31 Swansea 19
Tries:- Alex Knott (4), Alex Webber (27), Penalty try (32, 40+5)
Cons:- Diggy Bird (5, 28)
Pens:- Ben Jones (49)
Yellow cards:- Alun Lawrence (50+10)
Tries:- Gareth Rees (13), Morgan Morris (72), Andrew Claypole (80+1)
Cons:- Josh Thomas (14, 73)
Yellow cards:- Jay Williams (32), Gareth Rees (40+5), Alex Jeffries (53)
Venue:- Sardis Road
Referee:- Aled Evans
Weather:- Clear, 8C
Man of the match:- Joel Raikes
15 Ben Jones
14 Alex Webber
13 Alex Knott (rep: Gary Williams 40+11)
12 Dafydd Lockyer ©
11 Dale Stuckey
10 Diggy Bird (rep: Lloyd Rowlands 42)
9 Joel Raikes (rep: Huw Rees 73)
1 Corey Domachowski (rep: Huw Owen 75)
2 Rob Jones (rep: How Dowden 61)
3 Joe Popple (rep: Morgan Bosanko 61)
4 Shay Smallman
5 Chris Dicomidis
6 Rhodri Jones
7 Rhys Shellard (rep: Lloyd Evans 75)
8 Alun Lawrence (rep: Ross Morgan 75)
16 Huw Dowden
17 Huw Owen
18 Morgan Bosanko
19 Lloyd Evans
20 Ross Morgan
21 Gary Williams
22 Lloyd Rowlands
23 Huw Rees
15 Luke Griffiths (rep: Phil Jones 57)
14 Gareth Rees
13 Tom Williams
12 Mike Evans (rep: Andrew Claypole 65)
11 Ryan Griffiths
10 Josh Thomas
9 Tom Ham (rep: Chris Morgans 57)
1 Jack Powell (rep: Richard Murphy 57)
2 Ifan Phillips (rep: Paul John 65)
3 Alex Jeffries
4 James Ratti
5 Jay Williams ©
6 Charlie Davies (rep: Mitchell Walsh 57 & rep: Duane Eager 65)
7 Callum Bowden (rep: Jon Fox 41)
8 Morgan Morris
16 Paul John
17 Richard Murphy
18 Mitchell Walsh
19 Jon Fox
20 Duane Eager
21 Chris Morgans
22 Phil Jones
23 Andrew Claypole