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Sarah Cryer

Bedlinog RFC VS Pontypridd RFC

Sat 5th January 2019, 14:00, The Rec WRU National Cup First Round

A flurry of tries in the second-half sealed Pontypridd’s access to the next round of the National Cup with a 50-3 hammering of Championship side Bedlinog.

The Foxes surprised the away side early on earning a penalty from the scrum which Fly-half Dan Parry duly slotted from 35 metres for the opening points of the game. Unfortunately for the home support, it turned out to be Bedlinog’s only points of the game.

Pontypridd’s first real chance of the match came when Dane Blacker’s quick tap caught the Foxes napping with the scrum half breaking up field only for the attack to be broken down by ill-discipline from the home side. Returning fly-half Diggy Bird slotted home the away sides first points of the afternoon after English referee Ben Porte had awarded Pontypridd their fifth penalty inside 17 minutes.

The injection of pace into the match proved too much for Bedlinog moments later as Pontypridd scored the first of their seven tries through stalwart Rhys Shellard. A loose kick from scrum-half Liam Roberts could only find the hands of winger Dale Stuckey who managed to beat three defenders before finding Alex Knott who was just cut short of the line. The ball was recycled out to Alex Webber who offloaded to Shellard to put Ponty into the lead for the first time in the game.

The away side furthered their advantage seven-minutes later as Justin Burnell’s men turned up the heat. Having driven Bedlinog off their own ball at the scrum, Captain Dafydd Lockyer chose to put the ball into the corner at the forwards demand before hooker Geraint Clarke steered a driving maul over the foxes’ line to evidence Pontypridd’s superiority.

But, moments before half-time, both sides were reduced to 14-men with Regan Wilton and Ponty’s Alex Knott receiving yellow cards for pushing. The away sides penalty was reversed and Bedlinog were handed a lifeline in the game only for poor handling from the Foxes backs to let them down, handing Pontypridd a 17-3 lead at half-time.

Having taken props Ian George and Gareth Smith off before break, coach Justin Burnell turned to youth with promising youngsters Huw Owen and Will Davies-King coming onto the field. The changes proved vital for the Pontypridd set-piece which became more dominant as the second-half wore on, providing the backs with much needed quick ball.

Arguably the try of the match came four minutes after the break. Some lovely handling from forwards Sean Moore and Shay Smallman provided the ammunition for Alex Webber to explode onto the ball creating a two-on-one with Dylan Williams who was unable to stop Chris Dicomidis collecting Webber’s pass to push Ponty further clear.

Another try meant another conversion from the inform Diggy Bird who made it 24-3 from out wide. With the game running away from the Foxes, Rhys Davies’ high challenge on Ben Jones earned the winger 10-minutes in the bin with the referee showing a yellow card rather than a red. It took Pontypridd just 60 seconds to capitalise as Geraint Clarke mirrored his try in the first half to grab his second from another driving maul giving his side a 29-3 advantage.

The home side didn’t give up hope though and made Pontypridd’s defiant defence work for every inch. Having kept Bedlinog at bay, Ponty turned defence into attack and grabbed their fifth-try of the afternoon. With Bedlinog running the ball from deep, a handling error from Dylan Williams fell straight into the hands of Alex Webber who strolled under the posts to all but seal the away sides place in the next round.

There was still time for Ponty’s substitutes to get in on the act as Gabe Davies cut through the Foxes defence to score before Dai Francis’ footrace to the line rounded off an almost perfect afternoon for Pontypridd. Justin Burnell’s side invite Aberavon to Sardis Road next Saturday with Pontypridd looking to get back to winning ways in the Premiership.

Special mention should also be made to our very own Huw Dowden who ran the line like a champ as the stand in touch judge today, even managing to keep pace with Alex Knott on a breakaway.

15. Ben Jones (Lloyd Rowlands), 14. Alex Webber, 13. Alex Knott, 12. Daf Lockyer (Gabriel Davies), 11. Dale Stuckey, 10. Diggy Bird, 9. Dane Blacker (Dai Francis), 8. Steffan Jenkins, 7. Rhys Shellard (Sion Edwards), 6. Sean Moore, 5. Chris Dicomidis, 4. Shay Smallman (Lloyd Evans), 3. Gareth Smith (Will Davies King), 2. Geraint Clarke (Joe Page), 1. Ian George (Huw Owen).

Tries: Shellard (23”), Clarke (30”, 48”), Dicomidis (44”), Webber (57”), Davies (71”), Francis (73”).

Cons: Bird (23”, 30”, 44”, 57”, 71”, 73”).

Pens: Bird (15”).

Man of the Match: Sean Moore

By Nathan Parker – Pontypridd Media Team