Pontypridd, with Kristian Baller a late replacement for flu victim Chris Clayton, took the early initiative with a series of tight forward drives into the home half, but outside half Neil Burnett pulling wide a penalty attempt from forty metres out. A dynamic break by full back Hutchings provided some much needed impetus to the Ponty attack, but the first ten minutes of the game remaining scoreless, with neither try line threatened.
Ponty maintained their territorial dominance, but lacking the imagination to cut free, although with winger Jason Pocock going close to scoring in the corner. A Pocock cross kick then gave opposite wing Baller the chance to chase, the visitors now playing through countless phases of attack, with Lewis, Strong, Hutchings and Thomas all in turn carrying the ball on, but all to no avail.
Aberavon made a rare incursion into the Ponty half, failing with a long range penalty attempt, but putting the visitors’ defensive lines under pressure for the first time. Normal service resumed as Ponty drove and mauled their way upfield, the ever alert Andrew Jenkins sniping over for a try in the corner. The visitors now looked to up the tempo of the game, spinning the ball wide for centre Gavin Dacey to send through a deft chip, Matthew Hutchings gathering and crossing for a well worked try, converted by Neil Burnett. On the stroke of half time, Aberavon notched up their first points through a Jamie Davies penalty, registering an interval scoreline of 3pts to 12.
With Pontypridd failing to secure their own line out ball, Aberavon made the most of their opportunities to pressurise the visitors’ defence. A break by replacement scrum half Rhys Downes sent Ponty cruising upfield, but the crucial pass to his support intercepted. All indications were that the second half would be a close fought affair, with the home team looking fired up. A break by Wizards’ winger Steve Davies found full back Mark Bennett up in support to cross for a try, converted by Jamie Davies with fifty-seven minutes gone.
Aberavon were now bristling with attacking intent, the Ponty defence scrambling back to cover, but conceding a penalty which Jamie Davies converted, his opposite number Neil Burnett sent to the sin bin. The visitors seemed shell shocked in the face of the Wizards’ concerted attacks, grafting hard to hold their lines, just going into the final quarter of the game. Home flanker Chris Davies was sin binned, highlighting the physical and uncompromising nature of the contest. As Ponty tried to force their way back into the reckoning, Aberavon burst away for winger Richard Carter to cross for a crucial try, again converted by Davies.
A fired up Aberavon were finishing the game strongly, denying Ponty any chances of salvaging anything from the game. A final penalty kicked by outside half Davies sealed the victory for Aberavon, nailing the result by 23pts to 12.
15.Matthew Hutchings. 14.Kristian Baller. 13.Gavin Dacey. 12.Adam Thomas (Tom Riley). 11.Jason Pocock. 10.Neil Burnett (Dylan Jones). 9.Andrew Jenkins (Rhys Downes).
1.Ian Poley. 2.Duane Goodfield (Rhys Williams). 3.Sam Hobbs (Ryan Harford). 4.Ryan Savage. 5.Chris Dicomidis (Grant Harrington). 6.Geraint Lewis. 7.Rhys Shellard (Lee Evans). 8.Nathan Strong – cpt.
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