Pontypridd paid their first ever visit to Ammanford in this Konica Minolta Cup game, facing a potentially awkward engagement against the club who are currently runaway leaders of the National Leagues Division 3 West. Ammanford had also posted impressive fifty and sixty points plus victories in the previous two rounds of the cup, and would have hoped to have made a good impression in this tie.
It was not to be. On a bitterly cold Saturday afternoon the Principality Premiership side proved far too strong for their plucky but outgunned opponents, coming away with a comfortable 6-48 win.
Pontypridd started powerfully, and were five points up after four minutes when flanker Rhys Shellard claimed a try. Three minutes later hooker (and skipper for the day) Duane Goodfield went in near the posts, and Neil Burnett kicked the conversion to make it 0-12 to the visitors.
When prop Ryan Harford scored far out on the right after eleven minutes to make it 0-17 it looked as though a cricket score was on the cards, but Ammanford were showing a lot of fight and their Craig Moloney got the next score with a straightforward penalty goal. Then centre Lawrence Price ended the first quarter with a good try to take Pontypridd to a 3-22 lead.
It was all getting a bit too easy for Ponty at this time, and they were often guilty of over-elaboration when more direct play might have brought further scores. The result was that Ammanford came more and more into the game, and started to put a bit of pressure on the Pontypridd defence.
The home side had their best spell in the game in the second quarter, and looked dangerous in a few forays into the Pontypridd half. However, they kicked away good ball on two or three occasions, despite their threequarters often looking sharp with ball in hand. All they had to show for their brave efforts was a second penalty by Moloney after 37 minutes.
It must have been very tempting for the two teams to stay in the dressing room at half time, but when they came back out into the freezing afternoon air it was Pontypridd that looked to have benefited most from the break. Lawrence Price claimed his second try after just two minutes, converted by Burnett, and Baller added another just a minute or so later. Burnett kicked a magnificent conversion from way out on the right to make it 6-36.
Although Ammanford never gave up trying, the second half was dominated by the visitors. Lawrence Price got his hat trick in the 56th minute, again well converted by Burnett, and replacement centre Tystan Lazarus crossed again after 65 minutes to take the score to 6-48. This was the end of the scoring, however, but the Pontypridd faithful went away happy.
The home side was coached by former Sardis Road favourite, prop Aled Griffiths, who played well in the front row. Ammanford also had a very good back row unit, and they often caused problems in attack and defence. Ponty were just that bit bigger, faster and fitter on the day.
Pontypridd team:15. Jason Pocock; 14. Dan Hitchings (rep. Fionn McLoughlin), 13. Lawrence Price (rep. Trystan Lazarus), 12. Adam Thomas (rep. Paul Mathews), 11. Kristian Baller; 10. Neil Burnett, 9. Andrew Jenkins;
1. Stuart Williams (rep. Ian Poley), 2. Duane Goodfield (rep. Leighton Davies), 3. Ryan Harford, 4. Ryan Savage, 5. Chris Dicomidis, 6. Lee Evans, 7. Rhys Shellard, 8. Geraint Lewis (rep. Nathan Strong).
Pontypridd scorers: tries – Lawrence Price (3), Trystan Lazarus, Kristian Baller, Duane Goodfield, Ryan Harford and Rhys Shellard; conversions – Neil Burnett (4).
Ammanford scorer: penalties – Craig Moloney (2).