Ponty lose at the death in season opener against Cardiff
Cardiff dominated possession early on and were rewarded as winger James Gatt forged a midfield break, full back Ed Howley up in support to score a try which Gareth Thompson converted. Ponty continued to endure a torrid start to the game, their tackle count rising, and conceding another score as home lock James Ratti burrowed over following a series of drives, Thompson again converting.
Ponty were living off scraps, a Dale Stuckey chip and chase providing some relief but his side thus far very much second best. Just coming up to the half hour mark, and against the run of play, Ponty capitalised off the base of an attacking scrum, centre Dafydd Lockyer slicing through at a good angle to score, his try converted by Ben Jones. The home team seemed to have lost their edge and allowed their opponents back into contention, Ponty taking up the challenge with a short throw and drive held up on the line. A quick tap penalty gave the visitors further momentum, but unable to threaten a score and going in at the interval 14pts to 7 down.
Ponty struck right after the restart through a Ben Jones penalty but the advantage nullified by a similar effort from his opposite number Thompson. A driving maul and wide attack gave Ponty the initiative, home winger Joe Gatt yellow carded for infringing in defence. The visitors continued to apply pressure, turned into points as winger Alex Webber pirouetted out of a tackle and fed no8 Morgan Sieniawski to cross wide out, the score well converted by Jones.
The tide of the game had turned, Ponty now on top and Cardiff lacking their early menace, play delayed as referee Nigel Owens limped off to be replaced by Gwyn Morris.
The visitors were battling for every loose ball and drilling kicks into the corners, keeping play up in the home half and reaping further rewards through two Ben Jones penalties. A tense final ten minutes was in the offing, Cardiff launching a late repost but up against a stubborn Ponty defence. The home side racked up the pressure with a series of line-out drives, and right on time spread the ball wide for full back Ed Howley to cross in the corner. The result hinged on the very last kick of the game, replacement Joe Scrivens arcing his conversion inside the post to claim a dramatic win for Cardiff by 24pts to 23.
15.Ed Howley. 14.James Beale. 13.Leon Andrews (Barney Nightingale). 12.Sam Beard. 11.Joe Gatt. 10.Gareth Thompson (Joe Scrivens). 9.Ben Williams
1.Thomas Davies (Brinley Toms). 2.Evan Yardley. 3.Ollie Drake (Peter Lloyd). 4.Callum Bradbury. 5.James Ratti. 6.Alex Everett (Sam Pailor). 7.Zach O’Driscoll. 8.Morgan Allen – cpt (Lloyd Pike).
Tries: Howley (3, 80); Ratti (10)
Cons: Thompson (4, 11); Scrivens (80)
Pen: Thompson (46)
15.Lloyd Rowlands. 14.Alex Webber. 13.Alex Knott. 12.Dafydd Lockyer – cpt. 11.Dale Stuckey. 10.Ben Jones (Diggy Bird). 9.Joel Raikes (Tom Rowlands).
1.Huw Owen (Ben Stephens). 2.Ben Parry (Nathan Huish). 3.Morgan Bosanko (Ben Warren). 4.Sean Moore. 5.James Murphy (Lloyd Evans). 6.Kristian Parker. 7.Rhys Shellard (Sion Parry). 8.Morgan Sieniawski.
Tries: Lockyer (29); Sieniawski (52)
Cons: Jones (30, 53)
Pens: Jones (42, 61. 70)
Referee: NIgel Owens (Gwyn Morris)
WRU man of the match: Ben Parry