Pontypridd sealed a dramatic 19-17 victory over Merthyr with a last gasp try and conversion at Sardis Road.
Merthyr took an early lead when a 50/22 from Gareth Thompson found touch deep in Ponty’s half. Prop Chris Phillips crashed over from the resulting driving maul. Thompson’s conversion was good and the Ironmen led by seven.
Pontypridd cut the deficit to four points when Jake Lloyd made Merthyr pay from the tee after referee Ian Davies penalised Merthyr’s Paddy McBride for a high tackle.
Thompson soon had the chance to extend Merthyr’s lead but his penalty from half way went wide despite comfortably having the distance.
Merthyr did extend their lead soon after when Thompson made no mistake from the tee and put the away side seven in front.
Ponty soon cut the gap when Lloyd kicked his second penalty of the afternoon and brought the home side to within four. That saw the end of the scoring for the first half.
HALF TIME : Pontypridd 6-10 Merthyr
Pontypridd got the first points of the second half when Lloyd slotted a penalty from the best part of 45 meters out.
Merthyr hit back and scored their second try of the game when number eight Tom Daley crossed in the corner. A break from full back Ben Jones created the opportunity and Daley finished. Thompson’s conversion was good and the Ironmen went two scores ahead.
Merthyr were continuing to put the pressure on but Pontypridd’s defence held strong in challenging circumstances and prevented the game from going out of sight.
Pontypridd’s scrum had the upper hand all game and won another penalty which was kicked by Dale Stuckey, taking the home side to just five points behind.
Pontypridd then took the lead for the first time in dramatic circumstances. Merthyr were camped inside of Pontypridd’s 22 following a break from Craig Locke and meters away from Ponty’s line. The ball came loose and was gathered by Dale Stuckey, Stuckey kicked ahead and with no one back for Merthyr, Cole Swannack used his pace and got to the ball first before kicking ahead and scoring.
Stuckey’s conversion was good and Pontypridd led in the dying moments of the game.
Pontypridd defended valiantly for the remaining minutes and with Merthyr making inroads into Ponty’s half the home side were awarded a penalty which was kicked out of play giving Pontypridd the bragging rights in the valleys derby.
FULL TIME : Pontypridd 19-17 Merthyr
Match report – Adam Cleary
15. Llywarch ap Myrddin (Jac Davies). 14. Cole Swannack. 13. Bradley Roderick. 12. Ceri Morris. 11. Dale Stuckey. 10. Jake Lloyd (Garyn Payne). 9. Dai Jones (Dafydd Buckland)
1. Ben Stephens (Tom Devine). 2. Rob Jones (Ieuan Morris). 3. Tom Harper (Joe Popple). 4. Kristian Parker ©. 5. Chris Dicomidis. 6. Cai James (Jack Pope). 7. Sion Parry (Cally James). 8. Joe Miles
Subs: 16. Ieuan Morris. 17. Tom Devine. 18. Joe Popple. 19. Jack Pope. 20. Cally James. 21. Dafydd Buckland. 22. Garyn Payne. 23. Jac Davies
Penalties: Lloyd x 3, Stuckey
15. Ben Jones. 14. Dafydd Thomas. 13. Arron Pinches. 12. Tom Pascoe. 11. Sam Jones. 10. Gareth Thompson. 9. James Soanes.
1. Chris Phillips. 2. Rhys Williams. 3. Kelvyn Williams. 4. Craig Locke ©. 5. Callum Bradbury. 6. Paddy McBride. 7. Dafydd Stonelake. 8. Tom Daley
Subs 16. Curtis Greenslade. 17. Callum Lewis. 18. Rhys Lewis. 19. Massa Tutaia. 20. Jack Perkins. 21. Justin James. 22. Alex Webber. 23. Adam Hoskins
Tries: Chris Phillips, Daley
Conversions: Thompson x 2
Referee: Ian Davies
Assistant referees: Mike English and Greg Morgan
Golden Bob: Tom Harper
WRU Man of the Match: Joe Miles