Pontypridd 31 Swansea 19

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

Pontypridd:

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)

Swansea:

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)

 

Match facts:

Venue:-   Sardis Road

Referee:-   Aled Evans

Weather:-   Clear, 8C

Man of the match:-   Joel Raikes

Attendance:-   800

 

Pontypridd team:

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)

Replacements:

16 Huw Dowden

17 Huw Owen

18 Morgan Bosanko

19 Lloyd Evans

20 Ross Morgan

21 Gary Williams

22 Lloyd Rowlands

23 Huw Rees

Swansea team:

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

Replacements:

16 Paul John

17 Richard Murphy

18 Mitchell Walsh

19 Jon Fox

20 Duane Eager

21 Chris Morgans

22 Phil Jones

23 Andrew Claypole

 

TEAM P W D L PF PA PTS
Merthyr 30 23 0 7 885 593 117
Cardiff 30 22 1 7 991 660 111
Pontypridd 30 22 0 8 1015 580 110
Llandovery 30 21 1 8 856 551 104
Ebbw Vale 30 20 1 9 762 594 95
Aberavon 30 18 2 10 698 603 90
Newport 30 17 2 11 759 700 88
Rygbi Gogledd Cymru 1404 30 14 1 15 852 650 85
Swansea 30 16 0 14 674 594 81
Carmarthen Quins 30 13 1 16 637 584 71
Bridgend Ravens 30 12 0 18 689 714 66
Llanelli 30 12 1 17 679 723 63
Bedwas 30 12 1 17 681 830 62
Cross Keys 30 5 1 24 586 1093 36
Bargoed 30 6 0 24 576 1003 35
Neath 30 1 0 29 406 1274 3