Pontypridd suffered no post cup final hangovers as they faced a potentially difficult away league tie at Ebbw Vale.
Ponty were well worthy of an interval lead of 9pts to 21, tries scored by wingers Daniel Hitchings and Darren Berry, with full back Jason Pocock adding a conversion and three penalties. All of Ebbw's points came from the boot of Bryan Shelbourne, who put over three penalties for the Steelmen. Ponty were well on top despite being down to fourteen men for a period as flanker Ben Rose was sin binned.
The result was sealed in Ponty's favour as Pocock added another second half penalty, with lock Chris Dicomidis and winger Dan Hitchings crossing for tries, centre Paul Matthews adding another conversion. It was a late touchdown by Andy Bevan which gave the scoreline some respectability for the home team, but Ponty recording a valuable victory by 14pts to 36.
icwales.co.uk match report:
Ebbw Vale 14-36 Pontypridd
PONTYPRIDD look almost certain to hold onto third place in the Premiership after giving a good display in a lively match despite having 12 changes from their cup-winning line-up.
Before the game began the players, spectators and 31 former Ebbw Vale players, including Steve Lewis from the WRU, paid their respects to the former Vale and Wales forward Clive Burgess, who will be buried today.
After an opening penalty by Bryan Shelbourne, Pontypridd took the lead when wing Dan Hitchings shrugged off his opposite number Andre Bevan to score wide out, Jason Pocock stepped up to land a good conversion.
Within three minutes it was Ponty's other wing Darren Berry who chased a kick to the corner for another well-taken try.
Shelbourne placed another penalty before back-chat from the Steelmen gave Pocock the chance to place his second goal.
Another penalty followed for Pocock, but Shelbourne, after one miss, replied with a similar goal and then Pocock landed a bigger shot for a 21-9 interval lead.
A magnificent run by Vale wing Simon Hunt almost brought the student a try, yet minutes later, his indiscretion allowed Pocock the chance to kick another superb goal.
Vale, with Craig Cleaver coming on as a replacement and stirring his side, came back, but Ponty responded as another replacement, Morgan Stoddart, sent lock Chris Dicomides galloping over.
The best was to come as Stoddart gave to Hitchings on halfway and the wing produced an absolute gem of a try that Paul Matthews converted, though Bevan scored Vale's try in the final minute.
Ebbw Vale: Try - D Bevan; pens - B Shelbourne (3)
Pontypridd: Tries - D Hitchings (2), D Berry, C Dicomides; cons - J Pocock, P Matthews; pens - J Pocock (4)
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