Pontypridd were forced on to the back foot from the off, pinned back in their own half in the face of the home team’s aggressive play. Pontyberem outside half Steve Williams was wide with an early penalty attempt, denying his side a points return for their efforts. With Ponty struggling in the set pieces, the home team retained the upper hand in a hard fought contest. At last breaking out of their defensive shackles, Ponty surged upfield with a flowing passing move, gaining a field position for outside half Richard Langmead to hoist over a penalty to break the deadlock, with nine minutes gone.
With home outside half Williams again off target with a kickable penalty attempt, Ponty were given a reprieve, having been under pressure for long periods of the game. Pontypridd were attempting to utilise their pace to generate momentum, and again set off on a free flowing move upfield, a midfield break from Matthew Nuthall creating the impetus for fellow winger Daniel Hitchings to cross for a try out wide, the score converted by Langmead. Following a period of relative inactivity, with the game bogged down in a series of scrums, and around the fringes of ruck and maul, Ponty once more cut loose with a fine support move along the back line. Any momentum generated by the visitors was however soon squandered by sloppy play, allowing Pontyberem to retaliate on the offensive. With Richard Langmead off target with a late first half penalty, Ponty settled for an interval advantage of 0 pts to 10, having failed to dominate in any aspect of play.
Pontyberem began the second half strongly, driving Ponty back on to their own line. A weaving run from full back Morgan Stoddart sent Ponty surging upfield, but the Valleys outfit failing to maintain possession and rarely threatening a score. A double substitution saw Chris Martenko coming on for Grant Harrington and Ryan Harford for Ian Poley with Ponty desperate to generate momentum, setting up some phases of driving play spearheaded by Dale McIntosh and Lee Evans. Ponty were now gaining an advantage in the set pieces, setting up camp in the home twenty-two, with winger Daniel Hitchings going close to scoring in the corner. Ponty kept up their momentum, the ball recycled and fed swiftly along the back line for Matthew Nuthall to cross for a score on the overlap.
The visitors now looked resurgent, piling on the pressure on the home line, with both Ryan Harford and Daniel Hitchings looking to have crossed for legitimate tries, but denied by the referee’s decisions. Ponty proceeded to make a spate of substitutions, Jason Pocock on for Morgan Stoddart, Sam Wahdan for Chris Dicomidis and Paul Matthews for Dafydd Lockyer, but the game in danger of losing its way in the encroaching gloom. The visitor were showing plenty of aggression to maintain the upper hand, but rarely injecting the pace which their play so desperately needed.
With Leighton Davies now on in place of Ben Phillips and Darren Berry in place of Gareth Jones, Ponty kept plugging gamely away in attack, and their efforts finally rewarded as flanker Ben Rose turned up in support to claim a touchdown. There was still time for a grimly determined Pontyberem side to strike back on the offensive, but failing to register the score which their commitment throughout had warranted. A keenly contested cup tie came to a close with Ponty claiming victory, in less than emphatic manner, by 0 pts to 20.
15.Morgan Stoddart.(Jason Pocok) 14.Daniel Hitchings. 13.Gavin Dacey. 12.Dafydd Lockyer.(Paul Matthews) 11.Matthew Nuthall. 10.Richard Langmead. 9.Gareth Jones. (Darren Berry)
1.Stuart Williams. 2.Ben Phillips (Leighton Davies). 3.Ian Poley. (Ryan Harford) 4.Chris Dicomidis (Sam Wahdan). 5.Grant Harrington. (Chris Martenko) 6.Lee Evans. 7.Ben Rose. 8.Dale McIntosh – cpt.
Konica Minolta Man of the Match - Lee Evans
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