Match Report – Aberavon 10-16 Pontypridd
Despite three second half yellow cards Pontypridd claimed their third win in a row at the Talbot Athletic Ground with a 16-10 victory over Aberavon.
The sin-binnings of Ben Burnell, Cally James and Macauley Cook would not deny the Valley Commandos victory following a brilliant defensive display, particularly in the second half – three second half penalties from Josh Phillips and a first half penalty try sealed a close-fought win.
The Wizards opened the scoring after six minutes when inside centre Sam Jardine broke through the Pontypridd defence with a neat running line to dot down.
Ponty responded well and brought physicality against a strong Aberavon pack and forced a couple of penalties at the scrum.
With twenty minutes on the clock Pontypridd had an opportunity for their first points with a chance inside the Aberavon 22 but failed to capitalise, this was before referee Elgan Williams awarded the visitors a penalty try following a dominant scrum in the 24th minute, 7-7.
Aberavon fly-half James Davies converted a penalty following a high tackle as the hosts regained the lead, before his second attempt from the halfway line drifted wide.
Ponty created a couple more chances in the Wizards’ territory before the break but were stopped by some strong defence from the home team. The sides went into half time with Ponty trailing 10-7 in a close encounter.
HALF TIME – Aberavon 10-7 Pontypridd
The second half began in fairly frantic fashion but with neither side able to unlock each other’s defence early on. This was before an Aberavon high tackle in the 45th minute allowed fullback Josh Phillips a chance to kick three points, which he did to level the scores at 10-all.
The third quarter was a good one for Ponty as Phillips kicked two further penalties to extend the away side’s lead to 16-10. But with the lead standing at just 6 points, the match was in the balance as the contest headed into the final quarter.
A flurry of cards followed, firstly inside-centre Ben Burnell was shown a yellow card for an off the ball incident, before a double yellow card following a Ponty scrum penalty which saw Cally James and Aberavon’s Rhys Thomas sent to cool off for ten minutes.
Remarkably, the visitors survived defensively with 13-men before a third yellow card was shown to Macauley Cook for a high tackle.
The Wizards threw everything at Ponty during the remainder of the match, determined to get the win but superb defence and commitment saw the Valley Commandos claim their second straight win in the Indigo Group Premiership.
Pontypridd return to Sardis Road in their next match as they welcome Carmarthen Quins on Thursday 23rd November in front of the S4C cameras.
FULL TIME – Aberavon 10-16 Pontypridd (18/11/2023)
Match report – Iestyn Thomas
15. Josh Phillips. 14. Liam Lloyd. 13. McCauley Rowley. 12. Ben Burnell. 11. Dale Stuckey. 10. Joseph Scrivens (Ceri Morris). 9. Harvey Nash (Joel Raikes).
1. Ben Stephens (Tom Devine). 2. Dafydd Hughes (Gavin Parry). 3. Tom Harper (Morgan Bosanko). 4. Mitch Barnard (Chris Dicomidis). 5. Macauley Cook. 6. Aled Ward. 7. Cai James (Joe Miles). 8. Kristian Parker (c) (Cally James).
Subs: 16. Gavin Parry. 17. Tom Devine. 18. Morgan Bosanko. 19. Chris Dicomidis. 20. Joe Miles. 21. Cally James. 22. Joel Raikes. 23. Ceri Morris.
Penalties: Josh Phillips x 3
Yellow Cards: Ben Burnell, Cally James, Macauley Cook
15. Scott Delnevo. 14. Jay Baker. 13. Frankie Jones. 12. Sam Jardine. 11. Chris Banfield. 10. James Davies. 9. Rhodri Cole.
1. Rowan Jenkins (c). 2. Cam Lewis. 3. Chris Davies. 4. Shay Smallman. 5. Rhodri Hughes. 6. Rhys Thomas. 7. Iestyn Davies. 8. Travis Huntley.
Subs: 16. Aron Hemmings. 17. Stef Andrews. 18. Brad Roderick. 19. Ellis Major. 20. Cameron Loveys. 21. James Clegg. 22. Jordan Walters. 23. Morgan James.
Try: Sam Jardine
Conversion: James Davies
Penalty: James Davies
Yellow Card: Rhys Thomas
Referee: Elgan Williams
Assistant referees: 1 – Simon Rees, 2 – Martyn Jones
WRU Man of the Match: McCauley Rowley