Pontypridd ultimately took the honours from a hard fought encounter against a committed Rotherham team, to maintain pole position in Pool D of the British & Irish Cup.
The game rarely lived up to expectations, although contested by two fully committed teams and with the result in the balance up to the final stages.
Pontypridd made a lively start, competitive in the loose and attempting to up the tempo of the game with their quick tap penalties. Flanker Wayne O’Connor and powerhouse centre Dafydd Lockyer crossed for early tries following fine support work, both scores converted by outside half Dean Gunter.
Rotherham, although on the wrong side of the referee’s decisions for much of the time, with flanker Sean Dougall sin binned, never gave in, with scrum half Rhodes a lively contestant and full back Peter Swatkins always a threat coming into the line. Against the general run of play, it was Swatkins who crossed for a try out wide in first half injury time, with Cliff Hodgson’s conversion narrowing Ponty’s interval lead to 14pts to 7.
Rotherham maintained a near monopoly of possession for some time into the second period, but lacking the cut and thrust to make the most of their advantage. The game was at a stalemate, interspersed by errors and substitutions, until the Titans once more struck on a snap offensive out wide, for winger John McMahon to claim a try.
There was tight finish in the offing to what had largely been an uninspiring spectacle. Ponty fought their way back into contention with a series of concerted drives to their opponent’s line, with scrum half Rhys Downes darting over for a late match clinching try which replacement outside half Simon Humberstone converted. That was enough to give Pontypridd the home win they needed, by 21pts to 12, to maintain momentum in the British & Irish Cup.
15. Adam Thomas (Chris Clayton ) 14.Gareth Wyatt 13.Gavin Dacey 12.Dafydd Lockyer 11.Owen Williams 10.Dean Gunter (Simon Humberstone ) 9.Rhys Downes (Lewis Jones)
1.Lewis Smout (Ryan Harford) 2.Huw Dowden (Rhys Williams) 3.Ken Knaggs 4.Cory Hill 5.Chris Dicomidis – cpt 6.Jake Thomas (Ryan Savage) 7.Wayne O’Connor 8.Owen Sheppeard (Darren Waters)
“Golden Bob” man of the match: Rhys Downes
|Pontypridd (14) 21||Rotherham Titans (7) 12|
|Tries: O’Connor (6); Lockyer (14); Downes (76)||Tries: Swatkins (40+4); McMahon (65)|
|Cons:Gunter (6, 14); Humberstone (76)||Cons: Hodgson (40+4)|
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