Pontypridd came away with the spoils at Sardis Road with a hard-fought 18-16 victory over Llandovery, in a game which will live long in the memory.
The game didn’t exactly start in the cleanest fashion with Pontypridd conceding two penalties in the opening five minutes, giving Jack Maynard and Llandovery the easiest of three-points. But, West Walians lack of concentration from the restart cost them dear.
Lewis Williams’ long kick was collected by winger Richard Williams whose foot hit the touchline after catching the ball. The platform was then set from the lineout where Pontypridd favourite Huw Dowden eventually managed to ground the ball and get the game’s first try.
Midway through the first half it was clear to see both sides intent, with each set of backs given the freedom of Pontypridd. The expansive nature of the game eventually came at a cost for Justin Burnell’s men though, as the referee penalised the home side for holding on, which Maynard dispatched superbly to bring his side back into the contest.
Nothing was going to deter Pontypridd though with the impressive Lewis Williams pulling the strings and Alex Webber providing the pace out wide, the home side were always going cause trouble for the Llandovery defence, With a couple of minutes remaining of the first half, Williams was given the opportunity to push the away side further back with an easy three-points after a great catch in the air by Webber.
With just four points separating the sides at the break, the time for calmness and composure would have been at the forefront of the Pontypridd’s player’s minds. What proceeded was quite the opposite as Dale Stuckey’s fumble in his own 22 was capitalised on by second row Joe Powells, whose barnstorming run was unable to be stopped by the Pontypridd defence.
Again, Pontypridd fought back within moments of the restart as Llandovery looked to have caught the fever. A loose pass from centre Ryan Evans was hacked through by Webber who managed to dive on the ball millimetres before the dead-ball line to get the home side back into contention.
With the defensive qualities of each side being tested, Maynard floated over another penalty kick to put his side back in the lead after Lewis Williams missed conversion. A nip and tuck of a second-half made for a tense finish as Burnell ran the changes, with one substitute making an immediate impact.
A superb run by versatile back rower Lloyd Evans was cut short illegally by captain Jack Jones who conceded his team’s 10th penalty of the night. The precision of Lewis Williams penalty goal to put Pontypridd 18-16 ahead was then matched by the pace of flyer Webber.
A loose pass by Joel Raikes was intercepted by Jack Maynard who sprinted 80-metres, only to be cut down just short of the line by the Wales sevens man Webber. With the feeling of an opportunity missed for the traveling support, it was the Pontypridd faithful with arms and fists raised at the final whistle as the home side held on for a crucial Principality Premiership victory at the `House of Pain’.
15. Dale Stuckey, 14. Alex Webber, 13. Alex Knott, 12. Daf Lockyer, 11. Cameron Lewis, 10. Lewis Williams, 9. David Francis (Joel Raikes), 8. Morgan Sieniawski (Steffan Jenkins)(Gabriel Davies), 7. Rhys Shellard, 6. Sean Moore (Lloyd Evans), 5. Chris Dicomidis, 4. Shay Smallman, 3. Luke Leddington (Morgan Bosanko), 2. Huw Dowden (Robert Oliver Jones), 1. Huw Owen (Ian George).
Tries: Dowden (8”), Webber (49”)
Cons: Williams (9”)
Pens: Williams (37”, 68”)
Golden Bob Man of The Match: Lewis K Williams
By Nathan Parker : Pontypridd RFC Media Team