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Cross Keys 28 vs Pontypridd 56

Sat 12th May, 14:30, Pandy Park
Principality Premiership

Pontypridd took quality line-out ball to set a platform to attack, winger Dale Stuckey charging through a number of tackles to score an early try which Diggy Bird converted. The referee’s decisions were going Ponty’s way with home full back Matthew Powell sin-binned for a late tackle. A rampaging run by flanker Garin Price finally put Cross Keys in forward motion, the game being played at a good tempo. The visitors turned defence into attack, battering their way into their opponents’ twenty-two with no8 Hemi Barnes powering over from close range, his try converted by Bird.

Ponty were enjoying a wealth of possession and territory, the ball whipped wide for full back Lloyd Rowlands to cut through for a try, again converted by Bird. A shell shocked Cross Keys regrouped to put together some phases of play only for Ponty to wrestle a turnover and counter from their own twenty-two. Normal service was resumed as the visitors continued to press, full back Lloyd Rowlands scything through for the bonus point try which Bird duly converted. Almost a half hour into the game the Keys made their first meaningful foray into opposition territory, and were rewarded as no8 Ieuan Jones burrowed over for a try which James Leadbeater converted. Ponty responded in style as scrum half Joel Raikes cruised in for a try but his effort disallowed for a forward pass. The action continued at a frenetic pace, Cross Keys advancing but Ponty intercepting to launch a sixty metre counter with winger Dale Stuckey racing in for a try which Bird converted from a wide angle, taking his team into the break holding a deserved lead of 7pts to 35.

Keys were back in contention as the second half got underway and struck early as flanker Scott Matthews crossed for a try which James Leadbeater converted. The home side held on to possession, asking questions of a hard working Ponty defence, and making another breakthrough as prop Scott Evans crashed over from close range, his try converted by Leadbeater. A revitalised Cross Keys continued to advance, another potential try scoring opportunity only thwarted by a crucial turnover.

The game’s dramatic transformation continued as the home team struck again, replacement Duan Thomas countering from deep to score a try which Leadbeater converted, cutting the deficit to just seven points. Having been out of contention for the entire third quarter Ponty finally responded with a wide attack to send flanker Rhys Shellard over for a try which Bird converted from the touchline.

Play was ebbing to and fro at a hectic pace but with Ponty maintaining a foothold in the home half going into the final ten minutes, a period of pressure rewarded as Dale Stuckey arced in for a try which replacement Jordan Rees converted. The visitors continued to press into the dying minutes of an enthralling contest whilst holding at bay their opponents’ attempts to counter. It was Ponty who had the final word, taking a quick tap penalty to surge upfield, prop Joe Popple galloping over for a final try which Rees converted, bringing to an end a spring-time try fest at Pandy Park with Ponty victors by 28pts to 56.

Cross Keys:

15.Matthew Powell (Rhys Meredith). 14.Kyle Scrivens. 13.Ben Snell (Duan Thomas). 12.Shaun Tennant (Evan Lloyd). 11.Josh Thomas. 10.Iwan Burgwin. 9.James Leadbeater.

1.Gary Carpenter (Taylor Hansen). 2.Darren Hughes (Zac Hewlett). 3.Scott Evans (Richard Cornock). 4.Tom Lampard. 5.Josh Skinner. 6.Garin Price (Daniel Lewis). 7.Scott Matthews – cpt (Joe Thomas). 8.Ieuan Jones.

Tries: Jones (29); Matthews (44); Evans (48); D. Thomas (57)

Cons: Leadbeater (30, 45, 49, 58)

Pontypridd:

15.Lloyd Rowlands (Rhys Morgan). 14.Geraint Walsh. 13.Alex Knott. 12.Gary Williams. 11.Dale Stuckey. 10.Diggy Bird (Jordan Rees). 9.Joel Raikes (Huw Rees).

1.Ian George (Huw Owen). 2.Huw Dowden (Joe Page). 3.Will Davies-King (Joe Popple). 4.Sean Moore. 5.Chris Dicomidis. 6.Morgan Sieniawski. 7.Rhys Shellard – cpt (Ross Morgan). 8.Hemi Barnes (Sion Edwards).

Tries: Stuckey (3, 37, 72); Barnes (13); Rowlands (17, 26); Shellard (60); Popple (80+3)

Cons: Bird (4, 14, 18, 26, 38, 61); J. Rees (73, 80+3)

WRU man of the match: Morgan Sieniawski

Referee: Rhys Thomas