Losing ball in the ruck area early on, Pontypridd soaked a good deal of pressure from their opponents. A counter offensive at pace led by winger Darren Berry gave the home team some impetus upfield, outside half Richard Langmead converting a penalty from in front of the posts. Llanelli were securing a greater share of possession, some of it stolen in contact, to gain momentum in their play. A forceful run from full back Morgan Stoddart took Ponty storming into opposition territory, with Richard Langmead on hand to slot over another penalty.
Launching a long distance rolling maul, Llanlli followed up with a line out take and charge, their no 8 Gavin Quinnell going close to scoring in the corner. Ponty were still sniping away at possession in the loose, with Wayne O’Connor scavenging to good effect, and now looking more competitive in their efforts. Some fine phases of support play, and a charge by flanker Shellard, gave Ponty further initiative to attack. It was Llanelli however who struck next, hooker Craig Hawkins making a speculative pick up and darting past a static home defence to claim a try, converted from the touchline by outside half Ceiron Thomas, with twenty-five minutes gone.
Another elusive run from Morgan Stoddart split the Llanelli defence, taking Ponty into a good field position, and enabling Richard Langmead to pop over a snap drop goal from scrum possession. The action continued apace as Llanelli claimed good line out ball to launch their back line at pace, resulting in a corner flag try for winger Daniel Gravelle. It was Ponty who were next up on the attack, running hard at their opponents, and rewarded with another successful penalty kicked by Langmead. Latching on to turnover ball, the visitors once more instigated an attack at pace, with Ponty back tracking desperately. A charge off the back of a scrum took Llanelli no 8 Gavin Quinnell over for a try, registering an interval scoreline of 12 pts to 17.
The second period began with periods of attack and counter attack, the play often frenetic and sometimes frantic. Ponty were now struggling in the line outs, conceding ground, but grateful to see a Ceiron Thomas penalty drift wide. Ponty responded with some forceful running and mauling, with flanker Rhys Shellard prominent on the charge. Pressure eventually paid dividends with a Richard Langmead penalty on target, with fifty-four minutes gone. The home team continued to punch holes in the gain line, led by the drives of Lee Evans and Ryan Harford, forcing the visitors to infringe, but with Richard Langmead pulling wide a penalty attempt.
A sweet chip and gather by Morgan Stoddart set Ponty off on another offensive, the ball whipped out wide for centre Lloyd Warner to cross for a try, converted by Langmead. Dan Godfrey now came on for Lee Evans, with sixty-three minutes gone of a contest which was high on enthusiasm, if not always on control and skills. Ponty were putting in a big effort to secure possession, doing just enough to hold the edge in a close fought encounter. Llanelli however stormed upfield, enabling Ceiron Thomas to hoist over another penalty. Ponty in turn launched an exciting counter attack instigated by Stoddart, well supported by Godfrey and Shellard, but the scoring pass to winger James Thomas going into touch.
Llanelli were now under pressure, and with their no 8 Gavin Quinnell yellow carded, conceded further points to a wide angle penalty kicked by Richard Langmead. A long delay for injury took the sting out of the game, before Ponty forged their way back on the offensive, working off a strong scrummage. Foraging possession, and pile driving into their opponents’ defensive line, Ponty went desperately close to scoring, but Morgan Stoddart just held up. From the ensuing five metre scrum , the Ponty pack drove over, no 8 Dan Godfrey claiming the score. With Gerald Cox on for Stuart Williams, the home team were looking rampant, a free flowing support move culminating in a try for Lloyd Warner, superbly converted from the touchline by Langmead.
A double substitution saw Jason Pocock on in place of Lloyd Warner and Geraint Liddon for Ryan Harford, as Llanelli launched a late injury time offensive, With Dale McIntosh sin binned, Ponty were camped on their line, defending bravely, but conceding a try scored by Llanelli replacement hooker Justin Hughes. This was only a consolation for the visitors, Pontypridd having done more than enough to justify a morale boosting victory by 37 pts to 25.
15.Morgan Stoddart. 14.James Thomas. 13.Lloyd Warner (Jason Pocock).. 12.Dafydd Lockyear. 11.Darren Berry. 10.Richard Langmead. 9.Gareth Jones.
1.Stuart Williams (Gerald Cox). 2.Ben Phillips. 3.Ryan Harford (Geraint Liddon). 4.Dale McIntosh – cpt. 5.Grant Harrington. 6.Wayne O’Connor. 7.Rhys Shellard .
8.Lee Evans (Dan Godfrey).
“Golden Bob” man of the match – Gareth Jones
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