Pontypridd kicked off their Welsh Premiership campaign with a thrilling draw against rivals Cardiff at Sardis Road.
Second half tries from Garyn Smith and replacement Will Keep brought the scores level before a Joseph Scrivens conversion headed wide.
Ponty opened the scoring after three minutes with a penalty from fly-half Josh Phillips following a breakdown offence by the visitors.
The hosts looked to take control up front and were awarded a penalty from a dominant scrum, fly-half Phillips nailed a long-ranged penalty from 52 meters to double the home side’s lead after 12 minutes.
Although it was Cardiff who scored the first try of the afternoon with an inside ball from scrum-half Tom Habberfield to winger Dewi Cross who finished superbly as he beat the last defender, the conversion from fly-half Harrison James went wide.
Fly-half James added his first penalty of the afternoon as Cardiff took the lead for the first time and they led 8-6, before extending their lead a few minutes before halftime with captain Morgan Allen crashing over off on first phase of the lineout.
There was still time for Phillips to add his third penalty on the stroke of halftime, and Pontypridd went into the interval trailing 13-9.
HALF TIME – Pontypridd 9-13 Cardiff
Ponty started the second half with plenty of possession and territory before Cardiff openside flanker Nathan Cudd was shown a yellow card by referee Mike English after he used his hands in a ruck.
However, the visitors responded with the first points of the half with a penalty from outside half James to extend their lead.
Cardiff tighthead prop Freddie Barnes was shown a yellow card following a no arms tackle on a Pontypridd player.
Ponty made use of the two-man advantage with their first try of the afternoon, following a brilliant take from winger Stuckey, the hosts attacked out wide with two brilliant offloads from Phillips and fullback Liam Lloyd meant centre Garyn Smith fended off the final defender to score in the corner.
A strong seven-man scrum from the visitors gave outside half James a simple three points as they lead 19-14 with the game heading into the final 15 minutes.
A third yellow card for Cardiff came in the final few moments for hooker Joey Tomlinson, whilst Ponty continued their charge.
Eventually the hosts crossed, with replacement Will Keep scoring on his debut in the final act of the game to level the score. Unfortunately for the Sardis Road faithful, Joseph Scrivens’ conversion went wide and the game ended level – a thrilling draw played out by two good teams in front of a big crowd at Sardis Road gave both sides’ supporters plenty to shout about.
FULL TIME – Pontypridd 19-19 Cardiff (2/9/2023)
Match report – Iestyn Thomas
15. Liam Lloyd. 14. McCauley Rowley. 13. Garyn Smith. 12. Ryan Wilkins (Will Keep). 11. Dale Stuckey. 10. Josh Phillips (Joseph Scrivens). 9. Joel Raikes (Harvey Nash).
1. Ben Stephens (Tom Devine). 2. Rob Jones (Curtis Greenslade). 3. Tom Harper (Garyn Daniel). 4. Kristian Parker (c) (Sion Parry). 5. Macauley Cook. 6. Aled Ward. 7. Cai James. 8. Joe Miles (Chris Dicomidis).
Subs: 16. Curtis Greenslade. 17. Tom Devine. 18. Garyn Daniel. 19. Chris Dicomidis. 20. Sion Parry. 21. Harvey Nash. 22. Joseph Scrivens. 23. Will Keep
Tries: Garyn Smith, Will Keep
Penalties: Josh Phillips x 3
15. Jacob Lloyd. 14. Joe Goodchild. 13. Luke Pollock. 12. Aaron Pinches. 11. Dewi Cross. 10. Harrison James. 9. Tom Habberfield
1. Theo Bevacqua. 2. Alun Rees. 3. Freddie Barnes. 4. Sean Moore. 5. Ethan Phillips. 6. Craig Hudd. 7. Nathan Hudd. 8. Morgan Allen (c)
Subs: 16. Cam Tyler-Grocott. 17. Joey Tomlinson. 18. Adam Williams. 19. Shaun O’Rourke. 20. Harry Oliver. 21. Joe Williams. 22. Tyler Williams. 23. James Beal
Tries: Dewi Cross, Morgan Allen
Penalties: Harrison James x 3
Yellow Cards: Nathan Hudd, Freddie Barnes, Joey Tomlinson
Referee: Mike English
Assistant referees: 1 – Tom Spurrier, 2 – Wayne Davies
Golden Bob Man of the Match: Josh Phillips
WRU Man of the Match: Liam Lloyd