RGC’s Dion Jones kicked off the match between the two in-form teams in the Indigo Group Premiership.
RGC had the first half-decent chance of the match after 3 minutes, referee Mr. Rees awarded penalty advantage to a marching RGC pack, the home side proceed through the phases making good ground, the referee played advantage over just before some good work in the contact area from Ponty forces a ball-spill and the men in red and white from Sardis Road clear their lines.
The next 10 minutes or so of the match resembled the early rounds of a boxing match – both sides feeling each other out taking the ball into contact but with RGC enjoying the better field position. Both sides took it in turns to infringe at the breakdown so neither got the momentum they desired.
12 minutes had elapsed when Ponty had their first attack with real purpose. Clean ball fed to Jake Lloyd who threw a nice pass behind a runner to Dale Stuckey, Stuckey fed Llywarch ap Myrddin who hit a great line stepping back into the centre of the field. From the resulting breakdown RGC infringe and Ponty have a kickable penalty to potentially open the scoring.
13 minutes and Jake Lloyd steps up but smashes his penalty attempt against the post, from the rebound RGC knock it on. There’s then a break in play for a few minutes as referee Simon Rees has his communication system repaired.
So, the Ponty scrum from the rebound knock-on is solid, Joe Miles at the base picks and feeds scrum-half Lucus Welch who scored the try under pressure from the oncoming RGC defence. Jake Lloyd added a tricky conversion to make it RGC 0 Ponty 7.
Ponty’s lead was short-lived, from the restart Ponty gain possession but knock the ball on just a couple of phases later which gave RGC a prime attacking platform from a scrum. RGC work the ball well from the set-piece and fly-half Dion Jones dotted down for the try and added the conversion himself.
The frenetic passage of play in the match continued, Ponty restated the match after Jones’ try and gave away a penalty, RGC miss touch with the kick, ap Myrddin kicked the ball back and it crosses the touchline. RGC, wanting to keep the tempo going throw the ball in quickly rather than taking the full line-out on the half-way line and then start patiently building the phases and are rewarded not long after when their live-wire left winger Rhys Tudor was fed and finished. The conversion was missed, but RGC now had the lead by 12 points to 7.
Nearly half an hour on the clock, RGC over-throw at their own line-out, Tom Harper is the quickest to react, gathers and after a couple of phases Jake Lloyd grubbered the ball through beyond the onrushing defence, Stuckey gathered but is tackled agonisingly short of the try-line.
The next 7 or 8 minutes resembled the earlier passage of play where both sides played with plenty of endeavour but neither made any sort of clinical breakthrough. But just before half-time RGC are penalised for some back-chat to the referee. Ponty kick to touch, win the ball at the line-out, go into midfield and crash it up the middle a couple of times, Sion Parry then made a great carry, is isolated but in the process of RGC turning the ball over they knock it on. From the resulting scrum – which was Ponty’s main weapon during the match – the Sardis men gain the penalty which Lloyd slotted to reduce the deficit to two points – 12-10 to RGC at half-time.
HALF TIME – RGC 12-0 Pontypridd
Ceri Morris kicked off the second half and Ponty started the second forty well. A few minutes in Pontypridd are awarded a penalty for a high tackle which is kicked into touch. Later in the play Jake Lloyd passed to Dale Stuckey who was screaming down the left hand touchline but unfortunately the timing was just off and the ball ended up in touch.
The next passage of play, around 10 minutes or so is end to end with both sides taking it in turns to go at each other.
53 minutes on the clock and Ponty get let off the hook, a good RGC attack and excellent grubber kick through aimed at the chasing dangerous left winger Rhys Tudor, who looks for all money like he’s going to score but he knocked the ball on when gathering close to Ponty’s try line.
The missed chance is only temporary respite for Ponty, a few minutes later after some more RGC pressure in Ponty’s half, substitute RGC back-rower Ethan Fackrell hit a good line from some static play, went through a gap and cantered in from twenty metres for the try, Dion Jones adding the extra two points.
A few minutes later, just after the hour mark RGC score again. Ponty are penalised for not rolling away at the breakdown, RGC scrum-half Efan Jones asks the referee if he could tap and go quickly, the referee gives permission and he runs in RGC’s third try unopposed, Jones added the extras again.
RGC secured the 4-try bonus point in the 65th minute, winger Rhys Tudor scoring his second of the afternoon as the ball is spun left and put along the backline. Dion Jones again added the conversion – a blitz of three tries in less than 10 minutes.
Ponty are still showing heart and endeavour at this point despite the score-line. Confirmation that the physical nature of the second half took its toll on the men in red and white when they were forced to go down to 14 men – James Little left the field through injury and Ponty were unable to replace him having made their full allocation of substitutes at this point.
The full 80 minutes on the clock had passed but there was one last hurrah for the home side, replacement prop Christian Hone burrowed over for a try with the last play of the game. RGC let second row Andrew Williams take the conversion on his last appearance for the club and he was successful with the kick.
A tough second half for Ponty and the defeat brings an end to their 5-game winning run in the league. No time to lick the wounds as the focus switches to a huge derby clash at the Arms Park against Cardiff this coming Thursday evening.
Congratulations to the three youngsters that made their club debuts during the match – Lucus Welch, Sam Hayman and Kai Carnell.
FULL TIME – RGC 40-10 Pontypridd
15. Llywarch ap Myrddin. 14. Jac Davies (Morgan Richards). 13. Garyn Payne. 12. Ceri Morris (Sam Hayman). 11. Dale Stuckey. 10. Jake Lloyd. 9. Lucus Welch (Dafydd Buckland)
1. Ben Stephens (Morgan Bosanko). 2. Rob Jones (Jack Walker). 3. Tom Harper (Kai Carnell). 4. Kristian Parker (c). 5. James Little. 6. Cally James (James Murphy). 7. Sion Parry (Cai James). 8. Joe Miles
Subs: 16. Jack Walker. 17. Kai Carnell. 18. Morgan Bosanko. 19. James Murphy. 20. Cai James. 21. Sam Hayman. 22. Morgan Richards. 23. Dafydd Buckland
Try: Lucus Welch
Conversion: Jake Lloyd
Penalty: Jake Lloyd
15. Afon Bagshaw (c). 14. Sam Earl-Jones. 13. Rhys Williams. 12. Danny Cross. 11. Rhys Tudor. 10. Dion Jones. 9. Efan Jones
1. Jessie Williams. 2. Brodie Coghlan. 3. Jordan Scott. 4. Bryn Jones. 5. Andrew Williams. 6. Sam Williams. 7. Dan Owen. 8. Jordan Jones
Subs 16. Rhodri King. 17. Joe Simpson. 18. Christian Hone. 19. Owain Evans. 20. Ethan Fackrell. 21. James Andrew. 22. Sam Rogers. 23. Zac Clow
Tries: Dion Jones, Rhys Tudor x 2, Ethan Fackrell, Efan Jones, Christian Hone
Conversions: Dion Jones x 4, Andrew Williams
Referee: Simon Rees
Assistant referees: 1 – Mark Butcher, 2 – Robert Beach
WRU Man of the Match: Tom Harper