A long distance strike at goal by their outside half Chris Anderson put Cardiff into an early lead, before either side had yet got into their stride. A similar effort from home full back Jason Pocock just drifted wide of the mark. Continuing to press forwards to the visitors' twenty-two, Ponty set up another opportunity for Pocock to stroke over a penalty, levelling the scores with nine minutes gone.
The kicking duel continued as Anderson notched over another penalty for Cardiff, the contest so far high on intensity but with little flow to the play. Working off quick scrum ball, Ponty spread the ball wide for winger Chris Clayton to break away at pace. The home team kept up their momentum, launching a series of concerted drives up to the Cardiff twenty-two, their efforts rewarded with another penalty kicked by full back Pocock. Ponty once more pressed forwards with serious intent but a breakdown in their play allowing Cardiff to break on a counter offensive led by full back Matthew Nuthall, with no 8 James Malpas well up in support to claim a try, the conversion added by Anderson.
Another phase of Ponty attack ensued, but lacking the direct approach to cut through, and turned over possession once more allowing Cardiff to counter. A huge scrum by Ponty sent their opponents backtracking, the Valley Commandos again setting up camp in the visitors' half. Spreading the ball along the back line, Ponty released winger Chris Clayton on a dart to the line, a wide angle conversion from Pocock to follow. Some disruptive scrummaging, and plenty of chasing and harrying in the loose, again gave Ponty forward momentum, allowing Jason Pocock to slot over another penalty from in front of the posts. The home team continued in the ascendancy, having been the more creative outfit, and worthy of their interval lead of 16pts to 13.
A fired up start to the second period gave Ponty the momentum to advance, Jason Pocock stepping up to hoist over a mid distance penalty. Launching a concerted attack at pace from within their own twenty-two, Ponty remained well on top of their game. Excellent support play in midfield following an initial charge by centre Dafydd Lockyear took Ponty right up to their opponents' line, a burrowing try claimed by lock Grant Harrington, with fifty minutes gone.
Cardiff attempted to remain competitive with a burst upfield, but out muscled by an aggressive home defence. Hampered by lost line out possession Ponty continued to give ground, soaking up a concerted period of Blue and Black pressure. Defending gamely, again with a strong scrummage in their armoury, Ponty continued to sit back in their own half. Cardiff pressure eventually told as outside half Anderson hoisted over a penalty. Now into the final quarter of the game, Ponty were still in defensive mode, enduring a torrid period pinned back in their own twenty-two. Cardiff outside half Anderson was again on hand to successfully convert a penalty, narrowing the scoreline to 24pts to 19.
As Ponty responded with a series of charges upfield, visitors' flanker Johnathan Edwards was sin binned for his over exhuberance, but Jason Pocock off target with the ensuing penalty. Ponty strove hard to set up some phases of attack, only to concede another penalty converted by the siege gun boot of Chris Anderson. At last stung into action, Ponty launched a robust offensive led by Dafydd Lockyear, given continuity by a neat break from Tom Riley and rounded off in style with a touchdown for winger Richard Fussell, the score improved by Pocock's conversion.
Ponty were now in rampant mood, their pack punching holes in the Cardiff cover defence, and tigerish in their contention for every scrap of possession. Hounding Cardiff right back on to their own line, Ponty reaped their reward as Chris Clayton hacked on a loose ball to claim an opportunist try. With Chris Martenko on as late replacement for Grant Harrington, Ponty continued to aggressively contest every ball to the final whistle, a fine evening's work rewarded with a home victory by 36 pts to 22.
15.Jason Pocock. 14.Chris Clayton. 13.Tom Riley. 12.Dafydd Lockyear. 11.Richard Fussell. 10.Dai Flanagan. 9.Paul John.
1.Stuart Williams. 2.Duane Goodfield. 3.Ryan Harford. 4.Dale McIntosh. cpt. 5.Grant Harrington (Chris Martenko). 6.Mark Lewis. 7.Rhys Shellard. 8.Dan Godfrey.
“Golden Bob” Man of the Match – Rhys Shellard
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