Pontypridd returned to the Gnoll for the first time in nearly five years and claimed their first league win of the season in dramatic fashion.
A first half try for hooker Rob Jones and 18 points from the boot of fly-half Josh Phillips was enough for Ponty despite a Kieran Charles try and 14 points from fly-half Kristian Jones and a penalty from Steff Williams for the home side.
Ponty fly-half Josh Phillips opened the scoring with a penalty after three minutes following a breakdown infringement.
The hosts responded with the first try of the contest, flanker Ben Williams made a break and a simple pass to inside centre Kieron Charles who dotted down for the score, Kristian Jones added the conversion.
Phillips responded with his second penalty of the afternoon for Ponty to narrow the scores to one point.
The Valley Commandos crossed for their first try of the game after 21 minutes, hooker Rob Jones scoring off the back of a rolling maul with Phillips’ conversion drifting wide.
A late penalty from Neath captain Jones meant Ponty led by a point as the teams went in for halftime.
HALF TIME – Neath 10-11 Pontypridd
Neath opened the second half with a second penalty from outside half Jones which gave them the lead.
Phillips and Jones traded two penalties each before Ponty flanker Aled Ward was shown a yellow card after being adjudged to be offside.
Replacement Steff Williams kicked a penalty before Phillips added his sixth of the afternoon as the lead changed hands on seven different occasions in the second half.
Despite a late push from the hosts, it was Ponty who held out to claim a 23-22 win in their first visit to the Gnoll since 2019. Pontypridd welcome Bridgend to Sardis Road in their next fixture, the match on Saturday 14th October kicks off at the earlier time of 1:00pm.
FULL TIME – Neath 22-23 Pontypridd (30/9/2023)
Match report – Iestyn Thomas
15. Liam Lloyd. 14. McCauley Rowley. 13. Ryan Wilkins. 12. Will Keep (Ceri Morris). 11. Dale Stuckey. 10. Josh Phillips. 9. Harvey Nash (Joel Raikes).
1. Ben Stephens. 2. Rob Jones. 3. Tom Harper (Morgan Bosanko). 4. Mitch Barnard (Garyn Davies). 5. Macauley Cook. 6. Kristian Parker (c). 7. Aled Ward. 8. Joe Miles.
Subs: 16. Mitch Savage. 17. Kian Mattravers. 18. Morgan Bosanko. 19. Garyn Davies. 20. Will Gregory. 21. Joel Raikes. 22. Joseph Scrivens. 23. Ceri Morris.
Try: Rob Jones
Penalties: Josh Phillips x 6
Yellow Card: Aled Ward
15. Lewis Evans. 14. Dafydd Howells. 13. Sean Wilcox. 12. Kieron Charles. 11. Louis Rees. 10. Kristian Jones (c). 9. Chris Morgans.
1. Jack Powell. 2. Chris Morris. 3. Christian Brooke. 4. Sam Pailor. 5. Jacob Blackmore. 6. Fletcher Barry. 7. Ben Williams. 8. Morgan Kneath.
Subs: 16. Elis Hopkins. 17. Evan Kneath. 18. Gareth Lloyd. 19. Thomas John. 20. David Griggs. 21. Steff Williams. 22. Macauley Griffiths. 23. Aaron Bramwell.
Try: Kieron Charles
Conversion: Kristian Jones
Penalties: Kristian Jones x 4, Steff Williams
Referee: Keith David
Assistant referees: 1 – Matthew Davies, 2 – Wayne Davies
WRU Man of the Match: Ben Stephens