Ponty gained parity in the early forward exchanges, and followed up by giving the ball some width, but making basic handling errors to thwart their creative efforts. Banwen were launching long distance field kicks to gain territorial advantage, making for a competitive opening to the game. A charge by no 8 Dan Godfrey gave Ponty the impetus to advance right up to the home line, prop Ryan Harford burrowing over for a try, the conversion to follow from outside half Dai Flanagan, with nine minutes gone.
Ponty were becoming more structured in their attacking ploys, playing through numerous phases, and rewarded with a penalty kicked by Dai Flanagan to extend their lead to a ten point margin. Linking together well along the back line, with some fine support play, Ponty stretched the home defence to its limits, allowing centre Tom Riley to cross for a try which went unconverted. Banwen were swift in their repost, gaining a field position for their outside half Craig Hughes to slot over a penalty.
Ponty were now looking more fluent in attack, another fine passing move along the back line almost resulting in a score. Working off an effective line out platform, Ponty launched another phase of attack, setting up camp near the home line. A cheeky chip ahead by Dai Flanagan was followed up by the Ponty outside half to claim an opportunist touchdown, which he then converted. The visitors were laying claim to a good share of possession, and with scrum half Gareth Jones sniping away behind his forwards to keep up the momentum. A neat pop up pass fed to Darren Berry saw the winger darting in for a try, again converted by Dai Flanagan, extending Ponty’s lead to 3 pts to 29. Having set up camp in the Banwen half, and showing good support work, and good angles of attack, Ponty were rewarded for a sustained period of pressure as full back Jason Pocock crossed for a try wide out, the conversion attempt rebounding off the post, but enough to see Ponty through to a well earned interval lead of 3 pts to 34.
Lloyd Warner came out in place of Jason Pocock for the second half, and soon followed by the substitution of Chris Martenko by Chris Dicomidis. Banwen were now driving hard into the visitors’ half, their tight forward play eventually rewarded as flanker Anthony Thomas claimed a try, converted by Craig Hughes. With the referee’s decisions mostly in their favour, Banwen kept up their momentum, their pack piledriving towards the Ponty line.
A series of five metres scrums saw Ponty defending desperately under intense pressure, but doing well to hold out. The game was degenerating as a spectacle, and tensions mounting with an off the ball fracas amongst the forwards. Ponty were still pinned back in their own twenty-two, grafting hard to hold up the home team’s driving mauls. A concerted period of pressure from Banwen was rewarded as outside half Hughes broke away off the back of a forward drive to claim a try which he then converted from in front of the posts. With Duane Goodfield now on for Ben Phillips, Ponty at last made headway into the home half, but still unable to ignite the spark in their play, and conceding ground to Banwen’s field kicks.
The visitors’ cause suffered a further set back as scrum half Gareth Jones was sin binned for infringing, with sixty-four minutes gone of a contest which was by now a torrid affair for Pontypridd. A good deal of hard graft eventually saw Ponty making advances upfield, allowing centre Dafydd Lockyer to burst through for a try, the score converted by Dai Flanagan. Geraint Liddon was next off the bench for Ponty , in place of Stuart Williams, the game now into its last ten minutes, and the visitors holding a territorial advantage, but still lacking potency in attack. Another double substitution saw Richard Langmead coming on for Dai Flanagan and Lee Evans for Wayne O’Connor as Ponty now put together some more meaningful phases of attack.
With Paul John taking the field in place of Gareth Jones, Ponty had used up all their bench quota, maintaining a foot hold in the home half, and putting in the effort required to keep on top of the game. The final whistle blown after four minutes of injury time signalled a well earned away victory for Pontypridd by 17 pts to 41, and a place in the semi final draw of the Konica Minolta Welsh Cup.
15.Jason Pocock (Lloyd Warner). 14.Darren Berry. 13.Tom Riley. 12.Dafydd Lockyer. 11. Richard Fussell. 10.Dai Flanagan (Richard Langmead). 9.Gareth Jones (Paul John).
1.Stuart Williams (Geraint Liddon). 2.Ben Phillips (Duane Goodfield). 3.Ryan Harford. 4.Dale McIntosh – cpt. 5.Chris Martenko (Chris Dicomidis). 6.Wayne O’Connor (Lee Evans). 7.Rhys Shellard. 8.Dan Godfrey.