That classic cliché ‘a game of two halves’ was in full use as RGC came away with a 18-32 victory over Pontypridd in a hotly contested match at Sardis Road.
With storms battering the south of Wales, the sight of Pontypridd taking the field in their new kit for the first time this season allowed the sunlight to burst through for 80 minutes of rugby at the notorious House of Pain.
With a highly expectant crowd on the side-lines and in the stands, the home team made the perfect start. An interception try by star winger Dale Stuckey put the hosts in control after a wayward pass by RGC centre Rhys Williams.
Penalty awards were going the home team’s way, one of which veteran outside half Ceri Sweeney converted from in front of the posts.
RGC’s first real inroads into the Pontypridd 22 came from a horror pass backwards by Sieniawski who put Gary Williams in all sorts of bother. Luckily for the number eight, the home side was awarded a penalty a metre from their own try-line. More worrying was the resulting injury to fullback Williams who was carried from the pitch adding to Ponty’s injury list.
Things got worse for the home side as RGC’s Tim Grey picked up from the back of an attacking scrum and strolled over the line untouched. The try was quickly followed up by penalty-goals from Billy McBryde and Ceri Sweeney to bring up the half-time score of 13-8.
As supporters from each side collected their refreshments at the break, there was a feeling of unpredictability of what would ensue in the second-half. Those thoughts were quickly quashed when Pontypridd loose-head prop Ian George took the wheel at the back of a rolling maul and drove his side over the line for his first try of the season.
Astonishingly, George’s try was Pontypridd’s last score of the match with the North Walians going on to score 24 points without reply. A try from electric scrum-half Cameron Davies was followed by three tries in the remaining quarter of an hour. Exceptional openside Dan Owen bagged himself a brace before winger Sam Jones put the icing on the cake with a 40-metre scamper to the line to round off a final score-line of 18-32.
Report – Nathan Parker
15.Gary Williams (Tom Hannah). 14.Dale Stuckey (Jordan Rees temp). 13.Tom Riley. 12.Dafydd Lockyer – cpt. 11.Alex Knott. 10.Ceri Sweeney. 9.Dai Francis (Joel Raikes).
1.Ian George (Huw Owen). 2.Huw Dowden (Joe Page). 3.Morgan Bosanko (Joe Popple). 4.Sean Moore. 5.Shay Smallman. 6.Rhodri Jones. 7.Ross Morgan (Sion Edwards temp / Josh Hawkins). 8.Morgan Sieniawski (Sion Edwards).
Tries: Stuckey (3); George (42)
Con: Sweeney (4)
Pens: Sweeney (7, 33)
15.Dion Jones. 14.Sam Jones. 13.Tom Hughes. 12.Rhys Williams (Nick Butterworth). 11.Afon Bagshaw. 10.Billy McBride (Danny Cross). 9.Efan Jones (Cam Davies).
1.Joe Simpson (Will Sanderson). 2.Evan Yardley – cpt (George Roberts). 3.Jordan Scott (Joel Ringer). 4.Bryn Jones. 5.Robin Williams (Josh Leach). 6.Andrew Williams. 7.Dan Owen (Ilan Rowlands). 8.Tim Grey.
Tries: Grey (26); Davies (46); Owen (65, 69); S. Jones (75)
Cons: McBryde (47, 70)
Pen: McBryde (30)
Golden Bob Man of the Match: Morgan Sieniawski
WRU Man of the Match: Shay Smallman
Referee: Craig Evans