Following a scrappy start to proceedings, Ponty began to get to grips with their gameplan, centre Andy Parkinson launching a charge towards the line, but prop Gerald Cox knocking on with a score begging. The home team kept up a period of intense pressure, but a series of mauls and attacking scrums failing to produce points. After much huffing and puffing, Ponty finally worked the ball through many hands, creating an overlap for full back Morgan Stoddart to claim a try. The Wanderers responded on the offensive, asking serious questions of the home defence. A sniping break from scrum half Wayne Evans once more set Ponty on the attack, with hooker Phillips going desperately close to scoring.
Both teams were eager to attack in an open game, but neither having the finesse to make their plans come to fruition. With Scott Roberts on as replacement for Ryan Harford, Ponty were forced on the back foot, a great angle of running from Wanderers full back Evans splitting the home defence. Ponty in turn were seeking to be adventurous, but their efforts blighted by handling errors and a general lack of direction. A determined drive from Ben Phillips saw him crossing the line, but no try allowed. Ponty continued to apply pressure, winger Matthew Nuthall instigating a cheeky dummy and break to cross for a try. Another dynamic burst from Phillips kept Ponty on the front foot, the home team finishing the first period strongly. A midfield charge from Dafydd Lockyer kept up their momentum, some fine support play culminating in a try scored by prop Gerald Cox, and converted by Richard Langmead. Although still unable to dominate, Ponty looked good for their interval advantage of 17 pts to 0.
The home team continued to edge the contest as the second half got underway, Dafydd Lockyer looking dangerous on an outside break. The ball was swiftly recycled for Matthew Nuthall to slice through in midfield for a try, the score converted by Langmead. The Wanderers were as ever willing to retaliate with a widespread attack, but the game held up for a lengthy period as home lock Grant Harrington was stretchered off, replaced by Dale McIntosh. Events took a further downward turn for Ponty as hooker Ben Phillips was yellow carded for retaliation, and the Wanderers continuing to gain the upper hand. With Leighton Davies coming on for Lee Evans to fill the front row breach, Ponty were under the cosh defending their own line. Serious pressure from the visitors finally told as scrum half Gareth Spain darted in for a try.
Paul Matthews now came on for Andy Parkinson, as Richard Langmead failed with a kickable penalty attempt for Ponty. The home team were in danger of floundering with little cohesion to their play, as Gareth Jones came on for Wayne Evans. Finally injecting some much needed pace into their play, Ponty surged forward, a long cut out pass from Jones finding Chris Clayton, who fed back inside for Morgan Stoddart to cross for a try. Ben Rose was next off the bench, in place of Lee Evans, as Ponty once more cut loose through a scintillating run from Matthew Nuthall, the winger just held short, but flanker Adam Powell well up in support to claim a try.
With Darren Berry coming on for Morgan Stoddart, Ponty still looked rather fragmented, and the game itself now a subdued affair, too often interrupted by the referee’s whistle. A cruising break from Paul Matthews gave Ponty some fresh impetus. Working off a solid scrum, the home team advanced to their opponents’ line, Paul Matthews crashing over for a try which he also converted from a wide angle. Going into injury time, Ponty were looking to regain some of their earlier fluency, adopting a more direct approach to end the game on a high. The final whistle blew on a fine home win for Ponty, seven tries to the good and deserving winners by 41 pts to 5.
15.Morgan Stoddart. (Darren Berry) 14.Chris Clayton. 13.Andy Parkinson (Paul Matthews). 12.Dafydd Lockyer. 11.Matthew Nuthall. 10.Richard Langmead. 9.Wayne Evans (Gareth Jones).
1.Gerald Cox. 2.Ben Phillips (Leighton Davies). 3.Ryan Harford (Scott Roberts). 4.Chris Martenko. 5.Grant Harrington (Dale McIntosh). 6.Lee Evans (Ben Rose). 7.Adam Powell. 8.Nathan Strong – cpt.
“Golden Bob” man of the match – Wayne Evans
*The injury to Grant Harrington is reported as not being serious, his departure on a stretcher being a precautionary measure.