The latest outing for the Under 16's was a tough local derby away at Beddau. With both sides knowing each other well, this was always going to be a typical derby game with no quarter asked or given.
Ponty started well and with their big forwards making the hard yards, it was only brave defensive work from Beddau that stopped Ponty from opening the scoring. The first 15 minutes was all pressure from Ponty but despite their possession and territorial dominance they couldn't break down the home defence.
Beddau seemed to have weathered the storm and when their clearance kick was fumbled just over the half way line, they were awarded their first scrum in Ponty territory. From the resultant scrum, Ponty hooker Sam Oliver, managed a great steal against the head, allowing no 8 Dean Maissey to pick up and drive at the disorganised Beddau back line. When Maissey was tackled, the Ponty back row of Dafydd Gristock and Alun Thomas won good quick ruck ball, and spun the ball out wide, allowing the centre pairing of Lewis Egal and Jarod Scaplehorn to put full back Rhys Simms over in the corner for the opening try, that went unconverted.
Ponty resumed their pressure straight from kick off, with fly half Smith collecting the kick off and using the wind to place an excellent return kick deep in the Beddau 22, that home full back Liam Kumar was forced to take into touch. Ponty called a short line out, excellently collected by lock Gareth Capelin, who was driven over by his pack for Ponty's second try against his former club, which was again unconverted.
This spurred Beddau into action and a series of needless penalties conceded by Ponty allowed Beddau their first attacking position in the Ponty half. Beddau drove deep into the Ponty half, but their defence held firm and Dafydd Gristock turned over possession to allow Smith to kick long and clear the Ponty lines. Sadly poor discipline by Ponty resulted in the referee awarding a Penalty to Beddau for use of bad language, however the Beddau fly half Truelove was narrowly wide with the kick, to end the half 0-10.
The second half was marred by a number of ugly off the ball incidents that threatened to ruin the game. Fortunately local referee Gareth Francis took prompt action and sensibly gave a lengthy lecture to both sets of forwards and captains, to nullify the danger.
Although Ponty continued to dominate both possession and territory, poor handling was preventing them from adding to the score. At this point backs coach Mike Kelleher introduced replacement centre Tom Newberry, who has missed most of the season with a serious leg injury. Although playing at outside rather than his favoured inside position, Newberry's direct powerful running soon caused problems for the tiring Beddau midfield who were struggling to tackle the Ponty supersub. His first break should have resulted in a try, however an excellent tackle from Beddau fullback Kumar stopped Newberry 10 metres short, and Ponty wing Parker fumbled what should have been an easy try.
Only minutes later Newberry repeated the break, and this time powered through the full back for a try under the posts converted by Simms, to put the game beyond Beddau. Newberry was not finished yet though, and yet another superb break straight between the Beddau centres, caused panic in the Beddau defence. A brilliant cover tackle brought Newberry down 10 metres short, but replacement flanker Ben Miles and lock Gareth Capelin were first to the breakdown and desperately tried to dig the ball out to launch another attack, however referee Francis awarded a Ponty scrum.
Excellent pressure from the Ponty front row of Perry, Brown and replacement hooker Cai Daniels, drove the Beddau 8 back whilst cleverly wheeling the scrum to allow no 8 Dean Maissey to pick up and drive through the despairing tackle of the Beddau scrum half for the games final try under the posts.
Full back Simms converted to end the game - final score Beddau 0, Pontypridd 24.
Total votes 1191
Sut y gallwn hawlio yn ol ein gem genedlaethol? Oes angen newid y strwythur? How can we reclaim our national game? Is there a need for a restructure?