On Friday evening 24th February a quick, slick and confident Pontypridd Youth gave a rugby lesson to near neighbours Ynysybwl in a floodlit league fixture at Sardis Road, cruising to an emphatic 57-3 win.
A crowd that, pound for pound, put many regional games to shame enjoyed eight tries from the home team who effectively dominated all aspects of the contest.
The home side’s attacking intent was evident from the very beginning and scrum-half James Nicholas took the first scoring opportunity barely two minutes after the start with a penalty after Ynysybwl were caught offside. The score then ticked over at roughly a point a minute for the rest of the game with the first try coming after only five minutes with a miss-one move bringing blindside winger Josh Edwards into the line and he backed himself after a show and go to ghost through untouched to finish under the posts. The simple conversion by Nicholas was the second strike in his perfect kicking performance.
The second try followed a quickly tapped Pontypridd penalty that was carried up to the Ynysybwl line and disciplined tight phase play by the pack allowed Dillon Lewis to crash over from the back of a ruck. The twenty point barrier was breached when Edwards again joined the line and an uncertain Ynysybwl backline was thoroughly confused by the time his break and pass allowed Dale Hughes to tap dance through the remainder of the cover defence. Despite the game and result fast disappearing credit must go to Ynysybwl as whenever they had the ball they looked to play fluid rugby of their own and they got some reward with a penalty of their own after Pontypridd held on in the tackle.
The home team though were quicker in thought and deed and they gave Ynysybwl a lesson at the breakdown with aggressive counter-rucking and loose forward scavenging and two more Pontypridd tries came before the break. Gavin Steele capped off a patient forward drive to plough over from short range and the veteran blindside flanker then instigated the move that led to the fifth try by cheekily jumping out of a maul well inside his own half before sending the combative Dillon Lewis on one of his rampages upfield before clean inter-passing gave cultured looking centre Garyn Smith the chance to show his pace to slice through the defence from 30 metres out.
The sound of the referee’s re-start was still hanging in the air when Smith added Pontypridd’s first try of the second half when he scythed infield after a burst down the line by Dale Hughes and despite the visitors showing great spirit to take the balance of the next ten minutes, including a drive that was held up on the Pontypridd line, the game was closed off in emphatic fashion with another brace of tries. An impressive burst of speed from Garyn Smith took him outside the defence before he cut back sharply towards the posts somehow managing to slip an improbable scoring pass out of the tackle to the supporting James Kelly and finally replacement Callum Reed brought the game to an end with a classic prop’s try from inches out.
Coaches Simon Bayliss and Andrew Price were rightly proud of the high quality performance by their young team and hoped it would provide them with the confidence and momentum to secure a successful final third of the season.
15. James Kelly 14. Josh Edwards 13. Adam Harcombe 12. Garyn Smith 11. Dale Hughes 10. Shane Hutchinson 9. James Nicholas 1. Paul Minty 2. Blake Fear 3. Dillon Lewis 4. Jordan Eynon 5. Tom Flye (Capt.) 6. Gavin Steele 7. Ieuan Evans 8. Connor Ryan
Subs: 16. Sam Vaughan 17. Chris Jones 18. Tom Robinson 21. Jordan Rees 22. Mike O’Connor 23. Callum Reed
Tries – Josh Edwards, Dillon Lewis, Dale Hughes, Gavin Steele, Garyn Smith (2), James Kelly, Callum Reed
Conversions – James Nicholas (5), James Kelly (2)
Penalty - James Nicholas