Both teams made a cautious start to the encounter, the game played out in the middle section of the park with a fair quota of errors and turnovers made. Cross Keys winger Steff Jones opened the scoring with a penalty on thirteen minutes, but Pontypridd outside half Dean Gunter cancelling that out with a successful kick of his own.
The first quarter passed by with the twenty-two lines rarely breached and an exclusion zone remaining in force around the try lines. Pontypridd soaked up a fair amount of pressure but were able to scavenge for possession in the loose to keep in contention.
The breakthrough came after twenty-five minutes as the Keys launched a foray down the flank with lock Danny Hodges barging over for a try which outside half Sam Mills converted. Ponty responded briefly with a midfield thrust spearheaded by Adam Thomas, but failing to maintain momentum and falling further behind to a Sam Mills penalty.
The visitors were guilty of committing basic errors and yielding turnovers, their woes compounded as full back Gareth Wyatt was sin binned for an off-side tackle. A penalty kicked from forty metres out by Dean Gunter offered Ponty some consolation, but trailing at the interval by 13pts to 6.
Ponty began the second half in determined mood, setting up an effective line-out drive and a series of attacking phases, rewarded as a well struck Dean Gunter penalty sailed between the posts. In contrast to the first period, it was Cross Keys now committing errors and Ponty upping the tempo of their game, with Gunter slotting over another penalty to narrow his side’s deficit to just one point.
The game was often a frenetic battle fought at close quarters, and erupting into a fracas amongst the forwards with Ponty replacement hooker Tom Hetherington sin-binned, closely followed by home flanker Rob Nash.
Ponty were however in the ascendancy, and putting together a swift passing move with centre Adam Thomas once more prominent, to send Dean Gunter over for a try which he then converted from the touchline. Dominating the line outs and following up with some hard drives upfield, Ponty maintained the upper hand with Gunter expertly hoisting over another penalty from a wide angle. The contest continued hard fought and physical deep into injury time, but Ponty proving more than capable of preserving their lead of 13pts to 22 to the end.
15.Gareth Wyatt. 14.Chris Clayton. 13.Adam Thomas. 12.Gary Williams. 11.Lewis Williams. 10.Dean Gunter. 9.Gareth Williams (Rhys Downes).
1.Stuart Williams (James Howe). 2.Huw Dowden (Tom Hetherington). 3.Pat Palmer. 4.Cory Hill. 5.Ryan Savage. 6.Chris Dicomidis – cpt. 7.Wayne O’Connor (Calum Thomas). 8.Dan Godfrey (Owen Sheppeard).
|Cross Keys (13) 13||Pontypridd (6) 22|
|Try: Hodge (25)||Try: Gunter (70)|
|Con: Mills (25)||Con: Gunter (70)|
|Pens: Jones (13); Mills (35)||Pens: Gunter (17,40+4,44,55,78)|
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