It was the Blues who got to a flying start, a sharp breakaway attack rounded off with a try for winger Nick Gill, which outside half McLeod converted from a wide angle. Claiming clean first phase possession, the Blues continued to threaten, putting pressure on a hard working Ponty defence. Driving on from a line out on the home five metre line, the Blues powered over for a try claimed by hooker Gareth Williams .
Any attempt by Ponty to break out of their defensive shackles were thwarted, the Blues always looking menacing on the counter offensive, in what was a torrid first quarter of an hour for the home team. Some vigorous rucking by the Ponty pack at last gave them a share of possession, enabling them to finally make meaningful advances into opposition territory. Putting together a fine phase of continuity, Ponty moved the ball well along the back line, winger Chris Clayton darting over for a try wide out.
The game by now was far more competitive, Ponty having dug in to contest all phases, and seeing far more action up in the visitors’ half. An intelligent chip from scrum half Tom Dickens once more took Ponty into the Blues twenty-two, but unable to drive home for a score. Scavenging loose ball, the Blues launched a counter offensive at pace, forcing the home defence on to the back foot and into conceding a series of penalties near their line. Pressure finally told as winger Chris Czekaj crossed for a try, converted by Nick Mcleod, giving the regional team an interval lead of 5 pts to 19.
Wholesale changes were made to the Ponty line up during the break, and soon after the game resumed, losing their hooker and skipper Ben Phillips with a facial injury, replaced by Billy Hammond. The home team continued to compete with great spirit, setting up some forceful forward drives into the visitors’ twenty-two. A sweeping move along the back line saw Ponty going close to scoring, but just held up short of the line. A full blooded encounter sometimes erupted into the odd bout of fighting amongst the forwards, highlighting the competitive nature of the game.
Against the general run of play, the Blues struck on a counter attack which was rounded off with a try for replacement full back Jamie Roberts, the score converted by outside half McLeod. The regional team were looking sharp on the break, another snap attack creating an overlap for Jamie Roberts to cross again, the conversion added by substitute Dai Flanagan. With Flanagan, Wayne Evans, Duane Goodfield and Scott Roberts all coming off the bench for the Blues, along with centre Lee Thomas, the vociferous Ponty supporters were now taking a double take on the afternoon’s events.
The home side remained dogged in their efforts to attack, contesting the game to the full, but having to endure some dubious refereeing decisions in the visitors’ favour. The Blues’ killer instinct once more came to the fore as a cut and thrust attack culminated in a try for centre Tristan Davies, the conversion added by Flanagan. Sheer persistence finally paid off for Pontypridd as a charge led by lock Sam Wahdan created the opportunity for centre Gavin Dacey to cross for a try, rounding off the final scoreline of an intense club versus region encounter, at 10 pts to 40 in favour of the Blues.
15.Jason Pocock (Morgan Stoddart). 14.John Walder (Lloyd Warner). 13.Andy Parkinson (Gavin Dacey). 12.Dai Atkins (Neil Burnett). 11.Chris Clayton (Darren Berry). 10.Richard Langmead (Jason Pocock). 9.Tom Dickens (Gareth Jones).
1.Gerald Cox (Stuart Williams). 2.Ben Phillips (Billy Hammond). 3.Ian Poley (Ryan Harford). 4.Danny Hodge (Chris Dicomidis). 5.Chris Dicomidis (Sam Wahdan). 6.Lee Evans (Nathan Strong). 7.Ben Rose (Rhys Lloyd). 8.Nathan Strong (Adam Powell).
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