Two tries from winger Dale Stuckey ensured Pontypridd a place in the semi-finals of the Welsh Premiership Cup after a fine away win at the Talbot Athletic Ground.
Ben Burnell kicked 14 points to steer the visitors to victory after re-joining from fellow Welsh Premiership club Cardiff RFC.
It was a scrappy opening for both teams with Ponty giving it a go in the set-piece with a solid scrum and causing disruption in the lineout.
The first opportunity of the afternoon went the way of Ponty after a kick from fly-half Ben Burnell was partially charged down by Aberavon with the visitors applying good pressure in the breakdown to force a turnover.
Burnell was involved again in the move with a half break inside the Wizards 22, although his offload to number 8 Aled Ward didn’t go to hand and it was knocked-on over the try line.
Pontypridd created a couple of brilliant chances throughout the first half with scrum-half Rory Harries and captain Kris Parker making clean breaks although it took nearly half an hour for the first points of the game to arrive after Burnell struck a penalty from 40 meters out.
Fly-half Burnell was involved again in the 34th minute as he kicked a second penalty of the game after Aberavon were offside.
On the stroke of half-time, the visitors got their opening try through winger Dale Stuckey who crossed unopposed in the corner after a series of forward phases, a brilliant touchline conversion by Burnell meant Ponty lead 13-0 at the interval.
HALF TIME – Aberavon 0-13 Pontypridd
It was a poor opening to the second half for Pontypridd – they were penalised early for holding-on which gave Aberavon a penalty and an opportunity for their first points of the game. Fortunately for Ponty, Rhys Jones missed the resulting penalty.
In the 48th minute, Aberavon crafted a well worked try with winger Chris Banfield dotting down in the corner following some good handling by Joe Thomas and Steff Andrews.
Burnell added his third penalty of the afternoon to extend Ponty’s lead although most of the second half was built on a solid defensive effort from the away side.
The remainder of the third quarter was quite open with neither side being able to capitalise.
Burnell put in a huge touch finding kick from open play but, by the barest of margins it went straight out on the full. Play was brought back for an Aberavon line-out and a crucial moment came in the 68th minute when, with the hosts attacking inside the visitors half, fly-half Burnell was obstructed by Aberavon centre Bradley Roderick.
With the hosts piling on the pressure in the final few moments, a superb interception from winger Stuckey sealed the win as he ran from 60 meters to score.
A brilliant performance from Ponty who progress to the semi-finals of the Welsh Premiership Cup with this win.
FULL TIME – Aberavon 5-24 Pontypridd (3/12/2022)
Match report – Iestyn Thomas
15. Joseph Scrivens. 14. Niko Matawalu. 13. Tommy Morgan (Jordan Howells). 12. Ceri Morris. 11. Dale Stuckey. 10. Ben Burnell (Lloyd Rowlands). 9. Rory Harries (Lucus Welch).
1. Ben Stephens (Morgan Bosanko). 2. Rob Jones (Nathan Huish). 3. Tom Harper (Garyn Daniel). 4. Kristian Parker (c). 5. James Little (Mitch Barnard). 6. Cai James (Sion Parry). 7. Cally James. 8. Aled Ward.
Subs: 16. Nathan Huish. 17. Garyn Daniel. 18. Morgan Bosanko. 19. Mitch Barnard. 20. Sion Parry. 21. Lucus Welch. 22. Jordan Howells. 23. Lloyd Rowlands
Tries: Stuckey x 2
Penalties: Burnell x 4
15. Stef Andrews. 14. Chris Banfield. 13. Joe Thomas. 12. Brad Roderick. 11. Gabe Lacey. 10. Rhys Jones. 9. Iwan Temblett
1. Rowan Jenkins. 2. Ieuan Davies. 3. Geraint James. 4. Sam Pailor. 5. Shay Smallman. 6. Joe Tomalin-Reeves (c). 7. Lloyd Evans. 8. Andrew Waite
Subs: 16. Rhodri Cole. 17. Aled Thomas. 18. Jay Baker. 19. Jamie Cox. 20. Stef Lewis. 21. Cerith Davies. 22. Rhys Thomas. 23. Chris Davies
Referee: Gwyn Morris
Assistant referees: 1 – Aled Evans, 2 – Greg Morgan
WRU Man of the Match: Ben Burnell