The title decider was a physical encounter from the off played out in front of a passionate 5,000 crowd. Pontypridd showed their early intent with a driving maul followed by a break by centre Dafydd Lockyer, gaining a field position for outside half Lewis Williams to hoist over a penalty with seven minutes gone.
Llanelli were able to counter from loose play, the game gaining in intensity and with a competitive edge as visitors’ flanker Nic Cudd was sin binned for infringing. Benefitting from a big scrum, Ponty once more advanced for Williams to slot over another penalty. The home team were now applying more pressure, sniping down the flank with winger Matthew Nuthall hauled into touch just short.
Although lacking the killer touch, Ponty were maintaining momentum, enabling outside half Williams to increase their lead with another penalty. The contest however was no walkover as Llanelli gamely responded to any opportunity in the loose, and notched up their first points through a penalty kicked by winger Jordan Williams. The referee’s whistle was by now a prominent factor, the game losing some momentum as it reached its half way mark, Ponty maintaining a lead of 9pts to 3.
A concerted series of drives once more took Ponty deep into opposition territory, and again harvesting points from a Lewis Williams penalty. Llanelli responded with a counter attack from an aimless clearance kick, applying concerted pressure but kept at bay by an aggressive home defence.
The game was pretty much a dogfight for possession in deteriorating conditions, high on tension if low on skills. Llanelli once more pressed forward on a counter offensive, the ball whipped wide for back rower Craig Price to cross for a try on the overlap, which was converted by Jordan Williams.
A tense final quarter was in the offing as the mud wrestling contest continued unabated. Ponty once more capitalised on their forward power with a series of drives, allowing Lewis Williams to put another penalty between the posts. There was plenty of drama still to come, a long range Jordan Williams penalty bringing Llanelli back within two points, and Ponty centre Gary Williams then shown a straight red card for taking an opponent out in mid air.
The hard graft, the thrust and counter thrust continued from both teams into injury time, but Ponty gamely holding out to secure the victory, by 15pts to 13, that won them the Premiership crown.
15.Adam Thomas (Gareth Wyatt). 14.Chris Clayton. 13.Gavin Dacey. 12.Dafydd Lockyer (Gary Williams). 11.Matthew Nuthall. 10.Lewis Williams. 9.Lewis Jones.
1.Stuart Williams (Chris Phillips). 2.Huw Dowden (Darran Harris). 3.Pat Palmer. 4.Craig Locke (Cory Hill). 5.Ryan Savage. 6.Chris Dicomidis – cpt. 7.Wayne O’Connor (Jake Thomas). 8.Dan Godfrey.
“Golden Bob” man of the match: Lewis Williams.
|Pontypridd: (9) 15||Llanelli: (3) 13|
|Try: C. Price (59)|
|Con: J. Williams (59)|
|Pens: L. Williams (7,17,26,46,65)||Pens: J. Williams (35,72)|