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Carmarthen Quins 22 vs Pontypridd 20

Sat 30th March, 14:30, Carmarthen Park
Indigo Premiership

Despite outscoring Carmarthen Quins by three tries to one, Pontypridd slipped to a narrow 22-20 defeat at Carmarthen Park after a late penalty-goal from Quins fly-half Charlie Titcombe.

The home side got the match underway and were on the scoreboard a few minutes later, the aforementioned Titcombe kicked an early penalty after Ponty were penalised for being offside.

Following the restart some good handling and direct running from Ponty saw them work their way back up field and into the Quins 22, but their hard work was in vein when the ball was coughed up in contact. The ball spill allowed the Quins to work their way back into Ponty territory and a few minutes later they were awarded another penalty by referee Simon Mills. Quins flyhalf Titcombe knocked over his second penalty-goal and the home side led 6-0 after 10 minutes.

A few minutes later Garyn Smith put a good probing kick in behind the Quins’ defence, deep into their 22. The home side gathered and kicked the ball out under pressure and Ponty had a lineout between the Quins’ 22 and 10 metre lines. Ponty won the lineout and played the ball into midfield where they won the penalty. Ben Burnell kicked the penalty-goal and Ponty had their first points of the match, 6-3 after 16 minutes.

Carmarthen enjoyed a sustained period of pressure for the next ten minutes or so, deep in Ponty territory. The home side nearly got their first try in the 21st minute after some powerful carries through the heart of the Ponty defence, but some dogged tackling from the Valley Commandos rebuffed the Quins just before the tryline.

Carmarthen put into the scrum, still in the Ponty 22 and threw the ball wide and it was spilled into touch off a Ponty hand, so they still had possession. The resulting lineout rolling maul took Quins deep into Ponty’s 22 again but more stoic defence kept the home side out.

The clock was now approaching the half-hour mark and Pontypridd were awarded a penalty just inside their own half, Ben Burnell kicked it into touch just outside the Quins 22. Ponty won the lineout and some patient build-up play and good handling saw them work their way deep into the home side’s 22. Some slick handling from centres Wilkins and Smith as well as some members of the pack got Ponty to within a few feet of the tryline. From the next phase Mitch Barnard hit a powerful line and crashed over from close-range. Burnell kicked the conversion and Pontypridd were ahead 10-6 after 31 minutes.

The Quins restarted and they had their first try of the afternoon shortly after. Ponty gathered the kick off but struggled to exit their own territory, a misplaced pass saw the loose ball pounced upon by Carmarthen openside Tom Curry who scored from close range. Titcombe’s conversion put the Quins back ahead 13-10 after 35 minutes.

Playing into a stiff breeze in the first forty minutes, Ponty would have probably of been content with going into the break just three points behind the Quins, but more indiscipline in first half stoppage time allowed Charlie Titcombe to extend the hosts lead from the tee.

HALF TIME – Carmarthen Quins 16-10 Pontypridd

Pontypridd got the second half underway and the start of the second period was almost like déjà vu for what the travelling Ponty faithful witnessed at Sardis Road last week against Aberavon – the Valley Commandos, despite being behind at the break came out flying with a superb score to get proceedings underway. Josh Phillips fielded a high ball on halfway, evaded a tackle and fed Liam Lloyd down the left wing. Lloyd gave a switch pass to the supporting Ryan Wilkins and he scorched in to finish expertly. The conversion was missed, but Ponty had already reduced the deficit to a single point.

50 minutes had elapsed when Ponty were awarded a scrum after some good defence forced Quins to knock the ball on. However, a penalty was awarded to the home side after Mitch Barnard was penalised for ‘unsporting behaviour.’ Charlie Titcombe kicked his 4th penalty of the contest to nudge the Quins further ahead 19-15.

It wasn’t long before Ponty wrestled the lead back, again in slick fashion. Josh Phillips put an ‘up-and-under’ up and gathered his own kick and went on a gliding run deep into Quins’ territory. The Valley Commandos’ pack then put in the hard yards before Garyn Smith showed his class to put Ryan Wilkins in for his second try. The conversion was missed, but Ponty led by 20 points to 19.

The second half became very attritional, Ponty continued to probe their way into Quins territory but with no reward for their efforts, whilst Carmarthen’s tactic was lots of aerial kicking to try and force Pontypridd into errors – the tactic worked on some occasions.

In the 68th minute Ponty thought they had secured the four-try bonus point with another well worked try. Quins were penalised for back-chat on halfway and Ponty kicked to touch and had a lineout on the right-hand side of the pitch. The ball was secured and spread back across to the left, Josh Phillips fed the flying Liam Lloyd who dived in for the try, only for the celebrations to be cut short when assistant referee Jason Bessant put his flag up for a foot in touch.

The contest headed into the final ten minutes and Carmarthen were awarded a penalty at the scrum in the 72nd minute around 45 metres out on the right-hand angle. Charlie Titcombe stepped up and his attempt at goal had the length, but not the accuracy and Ponty’s one-point lead remained intact.

A few minutes later Ponty were awarded a scrum after Quins fumbled the ball in midfield. But the assistant referee on the near-side put his flag in to speak to the referee. The upshot was a red card shown to Ponty’s Kristian Parker for an off the ball incident at the preceding maul. From the resulting penalty Charlie Titcombe was successful from similar range, but on the other side of the pitch, to the one previously missed and the home side were back in front 22-20 with just a few minutes to go.

Pontypridd tried in vain to get themselves back into a position on the pitch to strike back in the dying seconds but despite their endeavours they were unable to. Carmarthen Quins sealed the win and as a result Ponty’s hopes of finishing in the league’s top four places were over.

The Valley Commandos have one league match left this season, away against RGC on Saturday 13th April. But the Club will have at least one match next weekend – all will be revealed very soon.

FULL TIME – Carmarthen Quins 22-20 Pontypridd (30/3/2024)

Match report – Geraint Thomas


15. Josh Phillips (Louis Rochefort-Shugar). 14. Liam Lloyd. 13. Garyn Smith (Joseph Scrivens). 12. Ryan Wilkins. 11. Tom Edwards. 10. Ben Burnell. 9. Harvey Nash (Toby Thomas).

1. Ben Stephens (Kian Mattravers). 2. Rob Jones (Gavin Parry). 3. Tom Harper (Morgan Bosanko). 4. Mitch Barnard (Kristian Parker). 5. Macauley Cook (c). 6. Cai James. 7. Cally James (Sion Parry). 8. Joe Miles.

Subs: 16. Gavin Parry. 17. Kian Mattravers. 18. Morgan Bosanko. 19. Kristian Parker. 20. Sion Parry. 21. Toby Thomas. 22. Joseph Scrivens. 23. Louis Rochefort-Shugar.

Tries: Mitch Barnard, Ryan Wilkins x 2

Conversion: Ben Burnell

Penalty: Ben Burnell

Red Card: Kristian Parker


15. Elir George. 14. Dale Ford. 13. Iestyn Gwilliam. 12. Josh Batcup. 11. Iori Badham. 10. Charlie Titcombe. 9. Archie Hughes.

1. Sam O’Connor. 2. Lewis Morgan. 3. Connor Allen. 4. Ryan Bean. 5. Lee Taylor (c). 6. Will Icke. 7. Tom Curry. 8. Lewys Millin.

Subs: 16. James Newnian 17. Cai Ifans. 18. Will Couch. 19. Elis Lewis. 20. Gethin Davies. 21. Iestyn Wood. 22. Lucca Setaro. 23. Gabriel McDonald.

Try: Tom Curry

Conversion: Charlie Titcombe

Penalties: Charlie Titcombe x 5

Referee: Simon Mills

Assistant referees: 1 – Jason Bessant, 2 – Martyn Jones

WRU Man of the Match: Ryan Wilkins