Ponty made a confident start to the game, showing good handling skills to plough forward in to the visitors’ twenty-two. Some excellent support work allowed Ponty to move the ball out wide, for winger Chris Clayton to dart over for a peach of a try, the score converted from the touchline by Dai Flanagan. Working off a solid forward platform, Ponty were hassling their opponents into making mistakes, and were rewarded for their endeavours as Dai Flanagan converted a penalty from in front of the posts.
The varying levels of confidence between the two teams were highlighted as Llanelli outside half Michael Hook pulled wide a penalty attempt, but Dai Flanagan bang on target with a long distance effort of his own, extending Ponty’s lead to 13 pts to 0. A snap Llanelli attack against the run of play put them close to scoring, but winger Steven Davies spilling the ball as he crossed the line.
A lovely floated cross kick from Flanagan nearly created another home score, with Ponty remaining well on top. As the visitors continued to infringe, Dai Flanagan took advantage of another penalty opportunity, planting the ball between the posts from forty metres out. The first meaningful attack of the day by Llanelli however saw them shipping the ball out wide for winger Davies to roll over for a momentum try. Ponty now brought on Andy Parkinson for Paul Matthews with a half hour gone, having lost their early momentum, and guilty of yielding the ball in contact. The contest was more evenly balanced, but the home side still maintaining the upper hand, guided on by the masterful field kicking of outside half Flanagan, the interval coming with Ponty having earned their advantage of 16 pts to 5.
It was Llanelli who set the pace for the resumption of play, making advances into the home twenty-two, but hitting a brick wall of Ponty defenders. As the home side seemed to have weathered the storm, a kick and chase by Llanelli resulted in a try for their speedy full back Darren Daniel., and converted by outside half Hook. The West Wales team were now on a surge, a simple midfield miss move splitting open the home defence, for centre Paul Mackey to cruise in for a try, converted by replacement Ceiron Thomas.
A shell shocked Pontypridd knuckled down to the task of forging their way back into contention, working off a solid scrum platform. With Stuart Williams on for Gerald Cox, Ponty, for all their efforts, were struggling to break out of their own half, as the game degenerated into a torrid scrap for possession. A snatch and run off the back of a line out by flanker Rhys Shellard at last gave Ponty some momentum, before Dai Flanagan hoisted over a majestic long range penalty to level the scores 19 pts all.
With Darren Berry on for Gareth Jones and Lee Evans for Adam Powell, Ponty contributed to a full blooded contest, but the balance once more tipped in Llanelli’s favour as their fly half Thomas notched up a successful penalty. The visitors continued to gain the upper hand, a surge up the middle of the park culminating in a try claimed by hooker Daniel George and converted by Thomas.
There were ten minutes remaining of a game which had slipped away from Ponty’s grasp, but the home team intent on finishing strongly in the face of adversity. A spate of substitutions saw Richard Langmead coming on for Dai Flanagan, Grant Harrington for Chris Dicomidis, and Gerald Cox back on for Ian Poley. A dart from Darren Berry gave Ponty some much needed impetus, but the valleys team failing to establish a forward platform and struggling to attack from deep.
Frustrations boiled over into a mass all out brawl to finish off the game, with four yellow cards dished out, to Dale McIntosh and Lee Evans of Ponty, and Chris Macdonald and Daniel Gravell of Llanelli. So came to an end a disappointing afternoon for Pontypridd, going down to defeat by 19 pts to 29, and thus losing their 100% record in the league.
15.Jason Pocock. 14.Chris Clayton. 13 Lloyd Warner. 12.Paul Matthews (Andy Parkinson). 11.Matthew Nuthall. 10.Dai Flanagan (Richard Langmead). 9.Gareth Jones (Darren Berry).
1.Gerald Cox (Stuart Williams). 2.Leighton Davies. 3.Ian Poley (Gerald Cox). 4.Dale McIntosh – cpt. 5.Chris Dicomidis (Grant Harrington). 6.Nathan Strong. 7.Rhys Shellard. 8.Adam Powell (Lee Evans).
“Golden Grogg” man of the match – Nathan Strong
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