The fall out of the narrow cup defeat for Ponty against Ystrad Rhondda, proved far worse than initially thought, with outstanding full back Rhys Simms being diagnosed with a broken hand, and centres Dan Deardon (Knee) and Lewis Egal (shoulder) joining Dean Maissey, Dafydd Gristock, Drew Evans, Lewis Williams and Stephen Parker on the long term injury list.
As a result a patched up Ponty travelled to Pontyclun for a friendly with the dressing room looking more like a scene from casualty than a rugby team. Once again Tom Newberry was forced into covering second row, and Ben Miles again featured out of position on the wing.
Ponty were lucky enough to get some reinforcements with promising Blues back rower, Sam Studley completing his transfer to the club, where he hopes to switch to scrum half on the advice of the Blues. In addition thanks to Ponty stalwart Joe Smith, the youth have been lucky enough to get two young South African students on permit until the end of January, and flyhalf Johannes Pretorius and hooker Steyn de Vos, were also able to make their debuts at Pontyclun. With the injury problems, Johannes started at inside centre, and Sam Studley had his first start as scrum half, with Steyn on the bench.
Ponty started brightly and virtually from kick off were awarded a simple penalty for an infringement at a ruck, however with regular kicker Simms injured, captain Lewis Smith took over the kicking duties and frustratingly pulled the kick wide.
Pontyclun were quick to respond and opened the scoring with a well struck penalty after Sam Studley had been penalised for jackling a tackled player, much to the amazement of Sam and the Ponty coaches. Ponty were quickly back on the attack and after an excellent break by Smith and Pretorius was halted 15 metres from the Pontyclun line, play was halted for some time after Ponty no 8 Alun "Beefy" Thomas, sustained a fractured hip at the ruck.
Thomas was replaced by Steyn de Vos, in an unfamiliar role, however with no other forward cover available there was little choice. Once again Ponty struggled without any recognised specialist line out jumpers, and first phase possession was difficult to obtain. Under sustained pressure it was odds on the Ponty defence would eventually crack, however after all their brave defensive work, the try when it came was a soft score.
Pontyclun were attacking close to the Ponty line when the ball carrier appeared to spill the ball forward, Ponty appealed for the knock on, but the referee waived play on, and the ball was flyhacked over the Ponty try line, where stand in fullback Max Padfield was caught ball watching and the Pontyclun player dived on the loose ball for a simple score, that was well converted to finish the half Pontyclun 10 Pontypridd 0.
After a serious roasting at half time, it was a fired up Ponty who returned to the field, and it wasn't long before aggressive running in their backs saw them awarded another simple penalty chance that again was scuffed by Smith and fell short. Ponty weren't going to let this disappoint them, and after a long period of pressure in the Pontyclun half, fly half Smith linked with Pretorius, whose inside ball, found his fellow countryman making a powerful run from deep.
Steyn de Vos, powered through the first tackle, and sprinted away under the posts, using brute strength to clatter the full back who made a desperate attempt at a last ditch tackle. Pretorius asked if he could take over the kicking duties, and duly converted to take the score to 10-7.
Ponty were now getting on top and were growing in confidence, and when the Ponty back row turned over Pontyclun ball deep in the Ponty half, Lewis Smith spotted some front row forwards in the defensive line and punished them mercilessly. Using Pretorius as a decoy he glided between the two props and sprinted the length of the field, outpacing the covering full back and wing to cross in the right corner. Ponty needed the conversion to take the lead, and Pretorius stepped up to kick a magnificent conversion from the touch line to take the score to Pontyclun 10 Pontypridd 14.
With the game drawing to a close, it appeared that Ponty would hold on for a win against their first division neighbours, however the impressive Pretorius aggravated a knee injury and was forced off the field with three minutes to go. Ponty with few fit players left, were forced into a reshuffle with a wing and scrum half now making up the centre three quarter line, and frustratingly for the coaches and spectators, a slip in midfield, saw Pontyclun suddenly have a man advantage in the backs, and they clinically used the overlap to cross for an injury time try wide out that went unconverted.
Final score Pontyclun Youth 15 Pontypridd Youth 14. Man of the match for Ponty was selected by the match sponsors and was Lewis Smith.
Play Off Final
Total votes 169
Ponty ar ben eu digon - pencampwyr dwbwl Cymru. Pwy oedd yn serennu yn y gem fawr yn erbyn Llanelli? Ponty on top of the world - double champions of Welsh rugby. Who starred in the big win over Llanelli?