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Aberavon 15 vs Pontypridd 19

Sat 14th April, 14:30, Talbot Athletic Ground
Principality Premiership

Pontypridd started the game confidently and applied early pressure in the Aberavon twenty-two. With the referee playing advantage for a knock-on centre Gary Williams burst through the home defence to score out wide.

Both defences were dominant for the next fifteen minutes and it would take something special to break through the tackles. Up stepped Ponty wing Alex Webber to finish off an excellent break by scrum half Jamie Hill and race in under the posts. Outside half Jordan Rees converted the score.

Aberavon finally built up some momentum and forced a penalty in a favourable position which outside half James Garland easily slotted between the uprights.

From the re-start Ponty centre Gary Williams was sin binned for tackling an opposing player in the air but despite going down to fourteen men the visitors still created an excellent try scoring opportunity through a Sean Moore break but Jamie Hill knocking on just short of the line.

Pontypridd had another opportunity to register further points when Aberavon conceded three line-out penalties in succession but the home defence holding up their opponents’ driving mauls before clearing their lines, bringing to an end the first half with Pontypridd 3pts to 12pts ahead.

Aberavon started the second period by totally dominating territory and possession and scored a deserved try when centre Rheon James barged over from close range, outside half James Garland easily converting from underneath the posts.

It took the Valley Commandos until the hour mark to finally get inside the Wizards twenty-two  but the resolute home defence again standing strong and clearing their lines.

The Wizards took the lead for the first time in the match when wing Jay Baker capitalised on a poor Ponty kick to race fifty metres un-opposed and touchdown in the corner.

With a tense finish in the offing, Ponty went looking for a late try to sneak the win and again Alex Webber was the go-to man as he stretched over the cover defence to ground the ball with replacement Ceri Sweeney adding the crucial conversion.

A long period of stoppage time ensued with Abervon in forward gear taking advantage of their opponents’ indiscipline but when the home line-out faltered, Ponty replacement Sion Edwards was on hand to gather and race up field, giving his side the opportunity to kick the ball dead and register a valuable away win by 15pts to 19 after an enthralling contest.

Aberavon:

15.Chris Banfield (Joe Gage). 14.Shaun Pearce. 13.Will Price. 12.Rheon James. 11.Jay Baker. 10.James Garland – cpt. 9.Iwan Temlett (Jacob Flynn).

1.Rowan Jenkins (Jordan Walters). 2.Ieuan Davies (Luke Davies). 3.Rhys Henry (Jacob Blackmore). 4.Ben Thomas (Lee Purnell). 5.Ben Jones. 6.James Ratti. 7.Rob Dudley-Jones. 8.Luke Joseph.

Tries: James (50); Baker (68)

Con: Garland (50)

Pen: Garland (30)

Pontypridd:

15.Lloyd Rowlands. 14.Alex Webber. 13.Cameron Lewis. 12.Gary Williams. 11.Dale Stuckey. 10.Jordan Rees (Ceri Sweeney). 9.Jamie Hill.

1.Ian George (Connor Lewis). 2.Huw Dowden (Joe Page). 3.Will Davies-King (Joe Popple). 4.Sean Moore. 5.Shay Smallman (Hemi Barnes). 6.Ross Morgan (Sion Edwards). 7.Rhys Shellard – cpt. 8.Alun Lawrence.

Tries: Williams (4); Webber (20; 77)

Cons: Rees (20); Sweeney (77)

WRU man of the match: Ross Morgan

Referee:  Ian Davies

Attendance: 850