On Sunday 11th December a young Pontypridd side came up against a very good Aberdare side containing several Heart of Wales District players. Full of confidence after demolishing Beddau 62 - 0 in their last outing, Pontypridd took their brand expansive and attacking rugby to Aberdare from kick off.
Within minutes Pontypridd's quick passing led to an overlap for their lightning fast winger Garin Rossiter to score unopposed in the corner. This paved the way for a period of Pontypridd domination with Aberdare barely touching the ball for the rest of the first half. The Pontypridd pack were dominating the Aberdare forwards allowing the halfbacks to express themselves and their unique abilities. Pontypridd's second try came from quick ball from the base of a ruck thanks to excellent play by the forwards and quick hands by scrum-half Joel Raikes that allowed outside-half Dale Hughes to dummy the entire Aberdare rush defence to score unopposed under the posts; the try was converted by Joel Raikes.
Increasing pressure from the Pontypridd pack kept Aberdare pinned in their own half and it wasn't long before outside-half Dale Hughes again tricked the rush defence to score his second unopposed try that was converted once more by Joel Raikes. Trapped in their own half, it wasn't long before a mistake behind the Aberdare try line led to a scrum five to Pontypridd. In a set blindside move, quick ball from the base of the scrum saw outside-half Dale Hughes go blind and feed Pontypridd's powerhouse winger Liam Williams who dived over in the corner for a half time lead of 24 - 0 to Pontypridd. Impressive up front for Pontypridd in the first half were hooker Jordan Jevons who'se aggressive play provided the backbone for the forwards dominance, with ever present second-rowers Daniel Williams and Oliver Dalley keeping Aberdare under pressure at every ruck and maul. For the backs scrum-half Joel Raikes marshalled the forwards throughout, that allowed outside-half Dale Hughes to cause all sorts of problems amongst the Aberdare defence with his pace and trickery, whilst inside-centre Chris Jones' sharp passing led to many of the attacking moves by the Pontypridd wingers.
The second half started as the first half ended, with Pontypridd camped in the Aberdare twenty-two. Good pressure by the Pontypridd pack saw the huge Michael Connor barge over for a deserved forwards try. This galvanised Aberdare who came out fighting and put Pontypridd under increasing pressure through out the rest of the half. It was this pressure that caused a mistake in the Pontypridd midfield that was quickly pounced on by Aberdare and allowed Corry Thomas to score a wonderful try through the middle to put Aberdare on the scoreboard, though Pontypridd still led by 29 - 5. The game then became bogged down for a long period, with both sets of forwards cancelling each other out and rush defence by the backs allowing few opportunities. Midfield changes by Pontypridd saw Joel Raikes move to outside-half, Dale Hughes to centre and Chris Jones to scrum-half. It was this change that led to Joel Raikes scoring a wonderful individual try from thirty yard out tearing a gap through the Aberdare defenders.
The game was rounded off by a brilliant backs move that saw centre Mickey Jones power over for the final try of the game that was converted by Joel Raikes. Full time score 41 - 5 to Pontypridd. Impressive up-front in the second half were prop Michael Connor who's ball carrying skills propelled Pontypridd forward throughout the game, with no.8 Steffan Jenkins' aggression at the breakdown preventing Aberdare from gaining any clean ball. Also prominent was prop Will Thomas who was an important catalyst for the forward effort in a much tougher second half. Whilst flankers Joshua Whiles-Pritchard and Nathan Payne utilised their impressive pace to worry the Aberdare defence at every opportunity. Substitute forward Alex Knowles looked impressive and filled in well when called upon. Amongst the backs Oliver Bailey had a typically solid display at fullback, wingers Garin Rossiter and Liam Williams were solid in defence and frightening in attack. Centres Morgan Rees and Mickey Jones looked sharp throughout and kept Aberdare under pressure, coping well with their rush defence.
Pontypridd try scorers: Dale Hughes (2), Garin Rossiter, Liam Williams, Michael Connor, Joel Raikes and Mickey Jones.
Joel Raikes kicked 3 conversions.
Aberdare try scorer was Corry Thomas.
Tonyrefail Upholstery Man of the Match: Steffan Jenkins
Team: 1. Will Thomas, 2. Jordan Jevons, 3. Michael Connor, 4. Oliver Dalley, 5. Daniel Williams, 6. Nathan Payne, 7. Joshua Whiles-Pritchard, 8. Steffan Jenkins, 9. Joel Raikes, 10. Dale Hughes, 12. Chris Jones, 13. Mickey Jones, 14. Garin Rossiter, 11. Liam Williams, 15. Oliver Bailey.
Substitutes: Morgan Rees and Alex Knowles.
SWALEC Cup Final
Total votes 391
Atgyfodiad yn yr ail hanner yn cipio Cwpan SWALEC i Bontypridd yn erbyn Castell Nedd. Ar y maes cenedlaethol, pwy oedd arwr y dydd i Ponty? A second half revival clinches the SWALEC Cup for Pontypridd against Neath. At the national stadium who was the hero of the day for Ponty?