Cardiff’s unbeaten status in the league came to an abrupt ending as Pontypridd survived a late onslaught to defeat the city slickers 26-25 at the House of Pain.
The Blue and Blacks hadn’t beaten Pontypridd at Sardis Road in 10 years, and first half tries from Alex Webber and Sion Parry ensured the impressive record stayed intact.
Despite scoring three tries of their own, Cardiff were unable to take their chances in front of goal as Gareth Thompson missed two easy kicks on his 100th game for the club, which could well have changed the outcome of the match.
Thompson’s opposite number on the other hand could do no wrong as Diggy Bird’s 16-points from the boot provided the Pontypridd faithful with a belated Christmas present.
A raucous crowd welcomed the league leaders and within 33 seconds of kick off the home side were celebrating the first try of the game as Webber rounded Leon Andrews and Edd Howley to give Ponty the perfect start.
Bird added the extras as well as a penalty kick as Cardiff struggled to get a foothold in the game.
Despite Thompsons failures in front of goal, the leaders soon found their rhythm and scored a try of their own as prop Tom Davies flopped over the line from a dominant driving maul.
The lead then changed hands as flanker Alex Everett spun out of Garyn Smith’s tackle to score near the posts after Bird and Thompson has traded penalty kicks.
It didn’t last long though as exerted pressure in the Cardiff 22 eventually mounted to points for Pontypridd. Webber’s trickery with ball in hand proved too hot to handle as the winger beautifully offloaded to Parry to score on the verge of halftime.
Ponty started the second half in the same vein as the first and added another three points to the scoreboard after obliterating the Cardiff scrum on their own ball.
What the Blue and Blacks lacked upfront was certainly made up for in their back play as Thompson slipped the ball to the on running Teri Gee who sprinted in from 40-metres to bring his side back into the contest.
A lack of discipline had the potential to derail Pontypridd’s quest for victory as Thompson found his kicking range to put the league leaders 25-23 in front.
But, after sustained pressure in Cardiff territory, Diggy Bird kept his composure to slot one last penalty kicks between the sticks via the upright.
Things got worse for the away side when substitute prop Brynley Toms was sin binned for a slap in the face of Ponty’s Cally James.
Cardiff carved out one last chance in the final play of the game as Gee ran the length of the pitch before being cut down by Webber, as the referee brought the game to an end, sending the home support into raptures.
By Nathan Parker – Pontypridd Media Team
15.Ben Jones. 14.Alex Webber. 13.Mason Grady (Corey Sheppard). 12.Garyn Smith. 11.Dale Stuckey. 10.Diggy Bird. 9.Jamie Hill (Joel Raikes).
1.Huw Owen (Curtis Reynolds). 2.Rob Jones (Rhydian Jenkins). 3.Morgan Bosanko (Ben Warren). 4.Kristian Parker. 5.James Murphy (Cally James). 6.Lloyd Evans. 7.Sion Parry. 8.Morgan Sieniawski – cpt.
Tries: Webber (1); Parry (37)
Cons: Bird (2, 38)
Pens: Bird (5, 21, 46, 61)
15.Edd Howley (Ioan Davies). 14.James Beal. 13.Leon Andrews (JoeScrivens). 12.Max Llewellyn. 11.Teri Gee. 10.Gareth Thompson. 9.Tom Habberfield (Lewis Jones).
1.Thomas Davies (Brynley Toms). 2.Evan Yardley (Iestyn Harris). 3.Matthew Pettit (Louis Jones). 4.Sam Pailor (Teddy Williams). 5.Macauley Cook. 6.James Thomas (Zach O’Driscoll). 7.Alex Everett. 8.Morgan Allen – cpt.
Tries: Davies (18); Everett (34); Gee (49)
Cons: Thompson (35, 50)
Pens: Thompson (24, 55)
Golden Bob Man of the Match: Morgan Bosanko
WRU Man of the Match: Sion Parry
Referee: Adam Jones