Pontypridd suffered their first loss of the season with a 38-21 defeat to Ebbw Vale at the Ciner Glass Community Stadium.
Despite two first half scores from Dale Stuckey and Ryan Wilkins, Ebbw took control of the contest in the second half with three second half tries from Ryan Davies, Ryan Jenkins and Evan Lloyd.
Ponty started strongly by forcing a penalty in the scrum with Ebbw loosehead Luke Garrett being penalised for angling in.
It turned into a dream start for the visitors as they opened the scoring, following a phase from the lineout, inside centre Ryan Wilkins made a break in midfield before offloading to winger Dale Stuckey who scored in the corner.
A second try followed for the visitors a couple of minutes later as Ponty ran it from a scrum in their own 22 with Liam Lloyd and McCauley Rowley combining before an inside pass to centre Wilkins who dotted down to score a fantastic length-of-the-field team try.
Referee Tom Spurrier showed Ebbw tighthead prop Harry Drane a yellow card, Phillips extended Ponty’s lead with a penalty following an infringement in the rolling maul before Ebbw Vale outside half Evan Lloyd kicked his first penalty of the game.
Lloyd added his second penalty of the afternoon to narrow the score, then the hosts picked up their first try of the afternoon, after several phases inside the Ponty 22, they turned to the rolling maul following a penalty and flanker Lewis Young crossed for the score with Lloyd adding the conversion.
Phillips had a final attempt to extend Ponty’s lead with a penalty and the visitors lead 18-13 at the break.
HALF TIME – Ebbw Vale 13-18 Pontypridd
Pontypridd failed to clear following the half-time restart, Ebbw took their chance with scrum half Jon Evans putting a grubber kick in behind for winger Ryan Davies who gathered and scored to level the scores, outside half Lloyd added the conversion to put them in front.
Lloyd kicked his third penalty of the afternoon to extend the hosts lead after 50 minutes, the afternoon got better for Lloyd as he added a drop goal to his points tally.
Phillips responded with his second penalty of the match to close the gap to a one-score game as it headed into the final 15 minutes.
Ponty had an opportunity following loose ball from the hosts but Garyn Smith’s pass was intercepted by Morgan Richards who kicked down field and forced Ponty winger Stuckey into touch.
Despite Ponty stealing the lineout, Ebbw managed to turn the ball over, with number 8 Ryan Jenkins crashing over the line for their third try.
Ponty tighthead Morgan Bosanko was shown a yellow card following a scrum infringement before the hosts wrapped up the bonus point in the final moments of the match thanks to fly-half Lloyd who converted his own try as the final act of the game.
It was a disappointing second half for Pontypridd as Ebbw claimed a 38-21 victory.
Ponty will be looking for their first win of the season next week as they welcome champions Llandovery to Sardis Road on Saturday September 16th with kick-off at 2:30pm.
FULL TIME – Ebbw Vale 38-21 Pontypridd (9/9/2023)
Match report – Iestyn Thomas
15. Liam Lloyd. 14. McCauley Rowley (Joseph Scrivens). 13. Garyn Smith. 12. Ryan Wilkins (Will Keep). 11. Dale Stuckey. 10. Josh Phillips. 9. Harvey Nash (Joel Raikes).
1. Tom Devine (Ben Stephens). 2. Rob Jones (Curtis Greenslade). 3. Tom Harper (Morgan Bosanko). 4. Macauley Cook. 5. Chris Dicomidis (Lloyd Jones). 6. Kristian Parker (c) (Will Gregory). 7. Cai James. 8. Joe Miles
Subs: 16. Curtis Greenslade. 17. Ben Stephens. 18. Morgan Bosanko. 19. Lloyd Jones. 20. Will Gregory. 21. Joel Raikes. 22. Joseph Scrivens. 23. Will Keep
Tries: Dale Stuckey, Ryan Wilkins
Conversion: Josh Phillips
Penalties: Josh Phillips x 3
Yellow Card: Morgan Bosanko
EBBW VALE –
15. Morgan Richards. 14. Harry Rees-Weldon. 13. Ethan Phillips. 12. Dom Franchi. 11. Ryan Davies. 10. Evan Lloyd. 9. Jon Evans
1. Luke Garrett. 2. Ieuan Morris. 3. Harry Drane. 4. Dylan Bartlett. 5. Curtis Gregory. 6. Cameron Regan. 7. Lewis Young. 8. Ryan Jenkins
Subs: 16. AN Other (TBC). 17. Morgan Davies. 18. Adam Court. 19. Jakub Malecki. 20. Chad Thomas. 21. Rory Harries. 22. Kieran Meek. 23. Gethin Williams
Tries: Lewis Young, Ryan Davies, Ryan Jenkins, Evan Lloyd
Conversions: Evan Lloyd x 3
Penalties: Evan Lloyd x 3
Drop Goal: Evan Lloyd
Yellow Card: Harry Drane
Referee: Tom Spurrier
Assistant referees: 1 – Steff Edwards, 2 – Carwyn Williams
WRU Man of the Match: Liam Lloyd