On Sunday 9th April the Pontypridd under 12s team travelled to Abercynon, and came away with an impressive victory by 15pts to 0.
This was a game of flowing rugby by two sides that were determined to play rugby the way it is meant to be played, with excellent control by two aggressive packs and some outstanding passing and movement amongst the backs.
The first half started with a flurry as Pontypridd immediately set their stall out, dominating the early possession and territory. It wasn't long before the pressure told, with Abercynon conceding an early penalty that was successfully kicked by Joel Raikes for what was his and the teams first ever penalty points. Buoyed by their early lead, a full of confidence Pontypridd ran the ball at every opportunity, but were constantly held up by a stubborn and solid Abercynon defence. Eventually some good work by the Pontypridd forwards, in particular Nathan Payne, Jordan Jevons and Dan Williams freed quick ball for the backs. Some impressive passing and movement by outside-half Chris Jones, along with centres Dale Hughes and Josh Pritchard stretched the Abercynon defence one way then the other, before Josh Pritchard broke through to score a wonderful team try that was successfully converted by Joel Raikes for a half time lead of 10 - 0.
The second half proved much more of a contest with Abercynon having an equal share of possession and territory. Though Pontypridd maintained their attacking style, with the ball constantly going from one wing to the other throughout the match, but with such tough opposition it was up the jumper stuff from the forwards that provided the quick ball for the Ponty backs to shine. It was this professionalism from this young Pontypridd side that tied up the Abercynon defence in midfield throughout the game and allowed opportunities for the impressive Morgan Rees, Garin Rossiter and Alex Logan to constantly make breaks out wide; that against a lesser team would have resulted in tries. But dogged resistance by Abercynon kept them out, that was until a wonderful pass by the hugely impressive scrum-half Joel Raikes set the magical Dale Hughes on one of his jinxing runs. After dodging several players in midfield, Dale threw out a long pass to his centre partner, the flying Josh Pritchard who rounded the four remaining defenders with a looping run from the half way line to score a deserving solo try that was a lesson in finishing for any winger.
This seemed to rejuvenate Abercynon, who for the final ten minutes kept Pontypridd pinned in their own twenty-two. Despite some impressive passing and a huge effort by the forwards, Abercynon were unable to turn possession into points. Twice they reached the Pontypridd try line and twice the excellent Pontypridd defence held them up. With the industrious forward play of Alex Knowles, Ryan Jones and Gareth Cleaver, along with centre Dale Hughes getting under the ball carrier the first time Abercynon reached the line. The second opportunity resulted in a huge try saving tackle by man of the match Nathan Payne that stopped them just short of the line, before the impressive Mikey Jones, Ben Larsen and Michael Connor stole the ball to launch a Pontypridd counter-attack that proved to be the final move of the game. Final score 15 - 0 to Pontypridd.
Try scorer for Pontypridd: Josh Pritchard (2)
Joel Raikes kicked one conversion and one penalty.
Preece Removals Man of the Match: Nathan Payne
Team: 1. Michael Connor, 2. Jordan Jevons, 3. Gareth Cleaver, 4. Ryan Jones, 5. Dan Williams, 6. Alex Logan, 7. Nathan Payne, 8. Alex Knowles, 9. Joel Raikes (c), 10. Chris Jones, 12. Dale Hughes, 13. Josh Pritchard, 11. Morgan Rees, 14. Garin Rossiter, 15. Mikey Jones. Sub: Ben Larsen.
A big thank you should also go to backs Alex Logan and Mikey
Jones for covering as flankers due to several missing injured
players. A thank you should also go to the walking wounded who
turned up to support their team mates along with former coach Mark
Griffiths who still regularly attends the matches to watch the boys
play. Congratulations to Joel Raikes who kicked his first ever
penalty for Pontypridd RFC, the first of many we're sure…
The team wish a speedy recovery to Oliver Dalley (leg), Liam Williams (ankle), Will Thomas (back), Steffan Jenkins (knee) and Oliver Bailey (hand).
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