Llanelli almost carried out a smash and grab raid on Sardis Road to deny Pontypridd progression into the semi finals of the British & Irish Cup, but a last gasp penalty for the home side ultimately securing them victory in dramatic fashion.
This was a typical Welsh club cup tie, depending as much on errors made and the tension generated as on skills and sublime play to keep a large crowd interested right to the very death.
Ponty got the better of the first half exchanges, in terms of territory and possession, with flankers Siggery and O’Connor scavenging in the loose and putting in the big hits in defence, but with only two penalties kicked by outside half Simon Humberstone to show for their efforts. Despite breaching the midfield gain line on occasions, the home team were also guilty of committing handling errors, too many to allow them to dictate the contest. Try scoring chances were at a premium, but working off the tireless service of scrum half Lewis Jones, Ponty were on top.
Llanelli duly responded with a late phase of possession, sending prop Shaun Hopkins over for a close range try which outside half Steven Shingler converted to give the West Wales team an unlikely interval lead of 6pts to 7.
Llanelli managed to dictate the pace of the second half for long periods, although sometimes through their infringing tactics which saw a heavy penalty count going against them, and with prop Hopkins sin binned. Ponty in turn failed to make the most of that penalty count and man advantage, labouring against their own failings as much as against their opponents’ endeavours and with crucial kicks at goal missing the target.
As Simon Humberstone finally found his range,kicking a penalty with ten minutes remaining, a tense finale was in the offing, and the stakes raised once again as Llanelli outside half Shingler coolly dropped a goal to regain his team’s one point advantage following some significant pressure applied.
The last word however was Pontypridd’s, and just about deservedly so having edged the contest, in boxing parlance, on points. Replacement outside half Dean Gunter stepped up to hoist over a crucial penalty right on the eighty minutes to claim a home win and a place in the semi final draw of the British & Irish Cup.
15.Gareth Wyatt . 14.Chris Clayton (Adam Thomas). 13.Gavin Dacey . 12.Dafydd Lockyer . 11.Owen Williams. 10.Simon Humberstone (Dean Gunter ). 9.Lewis Jones.
1.Stuart Williams. 2.Kristian Dacey (Rhys Williams). 3.Ryan Harford (Chris Phillips). 4.Craig Locke. 5.Ryan Savage. 6.Ed Siggery. 7.Wayne O’Connor (Darren Waters). 8.Chris Dicomidis - cpt.
“Golden Bob” man of the match: Gareth Wyatt
|Pontypridd (6) 12||Llanelli (7) 10|
|Pens: Humberstone (6, 34, 70); Gunter (80)||Try: Hopkins (40)|
|Con: Shingler (40)|
|Drop Goal: Shingler (78)|
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