By: Paul Hopkins
Swansea failed in their latest attempt to gain a first victory at Sardis Road since August 2001 as they fell to a bonus point defeat.
Hooker Chris Wells was the hero for the 2001 Whites’ side with the only try, but today it was former Scarlets back Josh Phillips who proved the match winner, with 15 points coming from his boot.
The Whites were awarded an early penalty after a high tackle and fly half Joe Thomas chipped up to the 22. A good lineout take gave the backs possession with winger Harri Houston coming close in the corner, but Pontypridd managed to turn over possession and earned a relieving penalty.
Hooker Jamie Cox stole in at the lineout and centre Gareth O Rees chipped through with Houston collecting as the visitors kept possession well. Swansea were awarded a penalty after the Ponty forwards were caught offside, but Joe Thomas missed from in front of the posts.
The visitors deservedly took the lead with a superb try when flanker Joe Greaves made an initial break and fed Houston, who made great yards down the wing, before feeding scrum half Cameron Jones for a debut try. Joe Thomas missed the conversion.
Number eight Morgan Morse took a high ball as the Whites looked to attack again, but they lost possession and a high tackle on centre McCauley Rowley gave the home side a penalty. Phillips kicked the three pointer.
Lock Lewis Jones took a lineout and Rees collected a pass and powered forward, before Cameron Jones realised that he had few options available and chipped into the 22.
Pontypridd embarked on their first notable attack with a superb offload by flanker Aled Ward to Chris Dicomidis sending the lock powering over the 22, forcing the visitors to stray offside. Phillips made the move worthwhile by kicking his side ahead for the first time.
A silly offside offence by the home side gifted the All Whites a penalty on the 22, which Joe Thomas booted into the corner. Lewis Jones just about claimed the lineout and fed Osian Knott, but the centre dropped the ball a few metres from the line.
Play was brought back for a penalty though, which Joe Thomas kicked into the corner again. Cox’s throw wasn’t straight though, gifting Pontypridd a defensive scrum.
The visitors were penalised for driving into a scrum at the wrong angle and Joe Thomas found touch deep inside the 22. Knott was unable to take a poor Cameron Jones pass and the move broke down with Pontypridd able to clear long.
A poor error by the All Whites gifted Pontypridd attacking possession and centre Ben Burnell made no mistake by side stepping a tackle to score under the posts. Phillips converted.
Rees made yards in midfield and Joe Thomas tried to go on his own but was wrapped up. The visitors were awarded a penalty, which Joe Thomas found touch on the 22, but lock Lloyd Ashley couldn’t take the lineout.
The visitors were handed yet another penalty and Joe Thomas made a familiar kick to touch. The lineout didn’t quite go as planned but the visitors managed to keep the ball, until prop Ben Stephens gave away a penalty. Full back Brandon Wood took over kicking duties and slotted his effort between the posts.
Following a collapsed scrum, Phillips found touch just shy of the Swansea 22 with a penalty, but excellent work on the floor by Morse secured a turnover.
Number eight Kristian Parker was penalised for back chat giving Swansea a late penalty opportunity before half time. Brandon Wood dragged his effort well wide of the posts though.
Half-time:- Pontypridd 13-8 Swansea
A handling error from the restart gave Pontypridd an attacking scrum on the Swansea 22, but Burnell had the ball pinched out of his hands and Swansea were able to clear.
Lock Macauley Cook took a lineout and fed winger Dale Stuckey who raced through on the wing, but the visitors were able to reclaim possession and cleared.
After a period of kicking ping pong, fly half Joseph Scrivens was penalised for holding on after the tackle as he tried to counterattack. Wood kicked the penalty to bring his side back to within two points.
A superb run by Morse got the visitors back on the front foot, but Cameron Jones was penalised for deliberate offside. Phillips’ effort sailed wide of the posts.
A superb lineout steal by Dicomidis gave the home side unexpected possession and quick thinking saw the ball swept out wide for Stuckey to use his pace and power to score in the corner. Phillips missed the conversion.
Swansea were awarded a penalty after a seatbelt tackle on Houston, so Joe Thomas found touch five metres from the line. The home side were awarded a relieving free kick though.
A huge scrum by the home pack put the All Whites on the backfoot with Parker charging through, but the visitors gave away a penalty, which Phillips kicked to extend the lead to 10 points.
Winger Matthew Jenkins dropped a ball in midfield and a chip through threatened the Whites’ defence, but Houston calmly tracked back to take the ball into touch.
Flanker Cai James made a break and managed to get within a metre of the line and then an inside pass by Burnell found Scrivens, who scored a well taken try. Phillips converted.
Replacement lock Matt Dodd was penalised for a high tackle and Phillips chipped to the corner, but another infringement at the lineout gave Swansea s relieving free kick.
Joe Thomas found touch deep inside the Pontypridd 22 with a penalty and the ball was swept out wide for Houston to squeeze over at the corner for a consolation try. Wood converted.
The home side had the final say when the forwards battered the Swansea try line and got the ball out for Rowley to score a simple try. Phillips converted.
Next up for Pontypridd is a trip to sixth place Aberavon, while Swansea host seven place Cardiff.
Full-time:- Pontypridd 35-18 Swansea
Tries:- Ben Burnell (31), Dale Stuckey (51), Joseph Scrivens (66), McCauley Rowley (80+5)
Cons:- Josh Phillips (32, 67, 80+6)
Pens:- Josh Phillips (11, 21, 61)
Tries:- Cameron Jones (8), Harri Houston (76)
Cons:- Brandon Wood (77)
Pens:- Brandon Wood (37, 46)
Venue:- Sardis Road, Pontypridd
Weather:- Sunny, 9C
Referee:- Jason Bessant
Man of the match:- Josh Phillips
15 Josh Phillips (rep: Ceri Morris 78-80+2)
14 Liam Lloyd
13 McCauley Rowley
12 Ben Burnell
11 Dale Stuckey
10 Joseph Scrivens
9 Harvey Nash (rep: Joel Raikes 73)
1 Ben Stephens (rep: Tom Devine 52)
2 Curtis Greenslade (rep: Gavin Parry 52)
3 Morgan Bosanko (rep: Tom Harper 52)
4 Macauley Cook
5 Chris Dicomidis (rep: Joe Miles 67)
6 Aled Ward
7 Cai James (rep: Cally James 73)
8 Kristian Parker © (rep: Mitch Barnard 73)
16 Gavin Parry
17 Tom Devine
18 Tom Harper
19 Mitch Barnard
20 Joe Miles
21 Cally James
22 Joel Raikes
23 Ceri Morris
15 Brandon Wood
14 Matthew Jenkins
13 Gareth O Rees
12 Osian Knott (rep: Marcus Brown 67)
11 Harri Houston
10 Joe Thomas
9 Cameron Jones (rep: Dan Roderick 73)
1 Freddie Chapman (rep: Daf Davies 73)
2 Jamie Cox (rep: Owen Thomas 52)
3 Ed Thompson (rep: Kian Hire 67)
4 Lloyd Ashley (rep: Matt Dodd 52)
5 Lewis Jones (rep: Lewis Marsh 73)
6 Joe Greaves (rep: Sam Pailor 73)
7 Callum Bowden ©
8 Morgan Morse
16 Owen Thomas
17 Daf Davies
18 Kian Hire
19 Matt Dodd
20 Sam Pailor
21 Lewis Marsh
22 Dan Roderick
23 Marcus Brown