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Neath 30 vs Pontypridd 34

Fri 16th March, 19:30, The Gnoll

Neath applied early pressure but were held out by a resolute Ponty defence. The visitors forged turnovers to counter but it was Neath who drew first blood as full back Ed Howley converted a penalty with nine minutes gone. Ponty in response spread the ball wide one way then the other, creating space for wing Lewis Williams to cross out wide, the try well converted by Diggy Bird.

Neath were next up on the attack, pile-driving into their opponents’ twenty-two for lock John Barley to crash over for a try which Howley converted. Ponty were a threat as their back three looked to attack but losing possession and momentum. Following an evenly balanced period of play it was Neath who made the breakthrough as Ponty failed to gather a high kick, home centre Keiran Williams gathering the loose ball to dart over for a try which Howley again converted.

Ponty were committing errors and failing to create a set piece platform, allowing Neath once more to press and put points on the board through a Howley penalty. A dynamic break by centre Dafydd Lockyer finally put Ponty on the front foot, with home scrum half Scott Gibson yellow carded and Diggy Bird converting the ensuing penalty. As the visitors looked to attack a pass was intercepted allowing flanker Aled Cockwell to cruise in for a try which Howley converted, putting Neath into a 27pts to 10 interval lead.

The second half commenced with the rare sight of a Neath drop goal attempt, before an error strewn passage of play, but with Ponty seeking to up the tempo of their game with flanker Morgan Sieniawski leading the line. Pressure was maintained before hooker Huw Dowden charged over from close range, his try converted by Bird.

Ponty then lost their own line-out ball allowing Neath back into contention with another failed drop goal attempt. The home team applied concerted pressure, with Ponty centre Dafydd Lockyer dispatched to the sin bin and Ed Howley planting a penalty between the posts. Having been under the cosh Ponty countered with centre Lloyd Rowlands hauled into touch just short. Pressure eventually told as Morgan Sieniawski pounced for an opportunist try on fifty-eight minutes. The visitors were now gathering momentum, winger Alex Webber making an arcing break but foiled by a knock-on. As Neath prop Liam Tobias was yellow carded a long delay ensued before referee Simon Rees decreed passive scrums. From one such set piece Ponty scrum half Joel Raikes pounced over for a crucial try, his team continuing on the offensive through a Dale Stuckey break with centre Lloyd Rowlands diving over for another try, converted by Bird. The match ended with a frenetic passage of play, but also with delays and confusion arising from the referee’s decisions. Ponty turned over possession to take play up to the home twenty-two, seeing out what had been a roller coaster of a match with a 30pts to 34 victory.


15.Ed Howley. 14.James Roberts. 13.Mike Evans. 12.Keiran Williams (Ryan Pugh). 11.Alec Jenkins (Dan Guarneri). 10.Iwan Evans. 9.Scott Gibson (Chris Morgans).

1.Ben Uphill (Callum Jones). 2.Garin Lloyd (Evan Whitson). 3.Liam Tobias. 4.Ryan Bean (Matthew Davies). 5.Jon Barley. 6.Elis Hopkins (Ceri White). 7.Aled Cockwell. 8.Leon Ward – cpt.

Tries: Barley (15); Williams (22); Cockwell (39)

Cons: Howley (16, 24, 40)

Pens: Howley (9, 32, 54)


15.Dale Stuckey. 14.Lewis Williams (Alex Knott). 13.Lloyd Rowlands. 12.Dafydd Lockyer – cpt. 11.Alex Webber. 10.Diggy Bird. 9.Joel Raikes (Jamie Hill).

1.Huw Owen (Ian George). 2.Huw Dowden (Joe Page). 3.Kieran Assiratti (Will Davies-King). 4.Josh Hawkins (Hemi Barnes). 5.Chris Dicomidis. 6.Sean Moore. 7.Morgan Sieniawski. 8.Jake Thomas (Ross Barnes).

Tries: Williams (11); Dowden (48); Sieniawski (58); Raikes (69); Rowlands (70)

Cons: Bird (13, 48, 71)

Pens: Bird (37)

WRU man of the match: Chris Dicomidis

Referee:-  Simon Rees