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Pontypridd 38 vs Bridgend Ravens 37

Sat 10th March, 14:30, Sardis Road
Principality Premiership

Bridgend were gifted a first minute score as winger Ryan Griffiths intercepted on the home twenty-two to cruise in for a try which outside half Jamie Murphy converted. Despite enjoying a near monopoly of possession during the first ten minutes, Ponty were unable to threaten a score.

Although strong in the scrums, the home team could not work a line-out platform and laboured in their efforts until full back Rhys Morgan burst through to score a try which was converted from a wide angle by Ceri Sweeney. Bridgend responded with a snap counter led by winger Aaron Grabham then put the home defence through a torrid period on their own line before Ravens hooker Gareth Harvey charged over from close range.

Ponty were next up on the offensive, a sustained period of pressure rewarded as flanker Sean Moore barged over, his try converted by Sweeney. The action pulsated back and fore as Grabham led another Bridgend attack, full back Jon Phillips up in support to claim a try which Murphy converted. The visitors were explosive from the restart, a wide attack allowing Griffiths to wing for his second try and followed up soon after as scrum half Connor Tantum sniped over for another try, this time converted by Murphy.

A shell shocked Pontypridd regrouped to play through the phases and move the ball wide, winger George Thomas crossing for a debut try, improved by Sweeney’s conversion which brought up an interval score-line of 21pts to 31.

Still unable to command their own line-out ball Ponty were in retreat as the second half ensued, unable to capitalise on their efforts during a low key period of play. A Dafydd Lockyer break generated some much needed momentum but the curse of the failing line-out again thwarting the home team’s endeavours. A Bridgend surge earned a penalty award which Murphy converted, with Ponty replacement Jake Thomas dispatched to the sin bin. Ponty were huffing and puffing but unable to blow any houses down and falling further behind to another Murphy penalty.

The home team at last put some structure to their play, flanker Morgan Sieniawski just in touch as he stretched over to score. Pressure finally paid as an opportunist chip and chase earned a try for replacement Diggy Bird, with Sweeney adding the conversion. It was Sweeney who then broke upfield, launching a period of intense home pressure which culminated with prop Huw Owen diving over for a crucial try which was quickly converted by Bird. Chasing the game into its final five minutes, Ponty went all out in attack, a quick tap penalty taken by replacement scrum half Jamie Hill who was then high tackled, resulting in visiting full back Jon Phillips being yellow carded, and Diggy Bird stroking over the penalty to edge his team into the lead.

An enthralling encounter came to an end with Bridgend attempting a last ditch counter, but Pontypridd holding firm to claim a 38pts to 37 victory.

Pontypridd:

15.Rhys Morgan (Lewis Williams). 14.Alex Webber. 13.Lloyd Rowlands. 12.Dafydd Lockyer – cpt. 11.George Thomas (Diggy Bird). 10.Ceri Sweeney. 9.Joel Raikes (Jamie Hill).

1.Ian George (Huw Owen). 2.Joe Page (Huw Dowden). 3.Kieran Assiratti (Will Davies-King). 4.Shay Smallman (Sion Edwards). 5.Chris Dicomidis. 6.Sean Moore. 7.Morgan Sieniawski. 8.Hemi Barnes (Jake Thomas).

Tries: Morgan (17); Moore (28); G. Thomas (40); Bird (70); Owen (73)

Cons: Sweeney (17, 29, 40, 71); Bird (74)

Pens: Bird (77)

Bridgend:

15.Jonathan Phillips. 14.Aaron Grabham. 13.Stuart Floyd-Ellis (Garin Lougher). 12.Nathan Edwards. 11.Ryan Griffiths. 10.Jamie Murphy (Ryan Evans). 9.Connor Tantum (Chris Williams).

1.Rhodri Apsee. 2.Gareth Harvey (Iestyn Merriman). 3.Cai Lewis (Owen Jordan). 4.Chris John (Owain Lloyd). 5.Kieran Martin. 6.Adam O’Driscoll – cpt. 7.Dafi Davies (Zac O’Driscoll). 8.Ashton Evans.

Tries: Griffiths (1, 34); Harvey(25); Phillips (32); Tantum (38)

Cons: Murphy (1, 33, 39)

Pens: Murphy (59, 66)

Golden Bob / WRU man of the match: Joel Raikes

Referee:-  Gareth Newman

Attendance: 1,340