It was Pontypridd who first took the initiative, attempting to inject pace into the game through the runs of Baller and Brew, the latter going close to scoring early on. The visitors played through countless phases, camped on the Llanelli line, but without reward. As Llanelli sought to strike back on the offensive, the breakthrough came as Gavin Dacey intercepted on his own twenty-two to race clear for a dramatic score, converted by Flanagan to give Ponty a deserved 7 point lead.
The home side responded with a sustained period of pressure, eventually out-witting the Ponty defence by squeezing flanker Luke Jones on a tight overlap for a try which was excellently converted from wide out by Rhys Priestland. The contest remained competitive going into its second quarter, with Ponty attempting to achieve some fluency with their fine support play, but settling for a Dai Flanagan penalty kicked from in front of the posts.
Llanelli responded with a penalty of their own, converted by fly-half Priestland, as the game suffered a lull in tempo. A turnover and counter attack once more saw Ponty seizing the initiative, but despite having been the more creative force during the first period, having to settle for a level interval score-line of 10 points apiece.
A general lack of cohesion saw Ponty back tracking as the second half resumed, but looking well organised in their defensive efforts. Both sides showed plenty of endeavour, but too often over-ridden by basic errors. It was the livewire Baller who again instigated Ponty’s attacks, the game being there for the taking by the Valleys team, but lacking the killer touch to do so. A fine phase of passing play saw Ponty create an overlap try scoring opportunity, but the crucial pass going straight into touch. As Dai Flanagan struck a penalty against the upright, Ponty’s frustrations on the night were summed up, the game still at a stalemate.
Ponty remained resilient, applying further pressure, with home hooker Ricky Guest yellow carded for infringing, and Flanagan then converting a penalty from in front of the posts. The visitors were now turning the screw, chasing down every attempt by Llanelli to strike back, and Flanagan once more kicking a penalty straight and true to extend his side’s lead.
Going into the last ten minutes of play, the home team threw everything into attack to salvage a result, with Ponty defending desperately on their own line, and having replacement lock Ryan Savage sin-binned in the process. Committing errors, Ponty allowed their opponents to build up a head of steam, but doggedly refused them a way through to the line. Wrestling a crucial turnover of possession, Ponty lifted the siege and the tension to take play up-field, holding out for a highly commendable away win by 10pts to 16.
15.Matt Hutchings (Mike Davies). 14.Aled Brew. 13.Gavin Dacey. 12.Adam Thomas. 11.Lewis Williams. 10.Dai Flanagan. 9.Kristian Baller (Andrew Jenkins).
1.Stuart Williams. 2.Rhys Williams. 3.Pat Palmer (Ryan Harford). 4.Grant Harrington (Ryan Savage). 5.Chris Dicomidis. 6.Geraint Lewis (Kristian Dacey). 7.Rhys Lloyd. 8.Nathan Strong – cpt.
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