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Pontypridd 25-22 Merthyr – Match Report

Pontypridd made it back-to-back wins in the Indigo Group Premiership with a 25-22 win over Merthyr in the Valleys Derby under the Thursday night Sardis Road lights.

A brace of tries for scrum half Harvey Nash and a try for Tom Harper were accompanied by a couple of conversions and two penalties from fly-half Ben Burnell which proved to be the difference.

The visitors opened the scoring in the ninth minute when Merthyr outside centre Adam Hoskins gathered a bouncing ball to dot down with fullback Gareth Thompson adding the conversion.

Ponty responded with their first points of the evening when fly-half Ben Burnell delivered a flat pass to inside centre Ryan Wilkins who offloaded to scrum half Harvey Nash who did enough to beat the final defender to score. Fullback Josh Phillips converted to level the scores after 13 minutes.

Ponty winger Niko Matawalu was shown a yellow card after 23 minutes for a deliberate knock-on and the away side capitalised immediately when the line-out rolling maul yielded a try. Fly-half Josh Lewis kicked his side’s second conversion of the evening and the Ironmen led by 14 points to 7.

The home side managed the yellow card period rather well but both Josh Phillips and Ben Burnell missed penalty attempts to narrow Ponty’s deficit.

Matawalu made an immediate impact on his return from the sin-bin with a break out on the left wing and the hosts responded a few phases later with their second try of the night through tighthead prop Tom Harper, but it was Merthyr that led 14-12 at the interval.

HALF TIME – Pontypridd 12-14 Merthyr

Merthyr picked up the first score of the second half through the boot of fullback Thompson who added a penalty to extend the visitors lead – 17-12 after 44 minutes.

It was Pontypridd who scored the next try, and what a try! – captain Kristian Parker gave a show-and-go in is own half and offloaded to winger Matawalu who sprinted down the wing before giving the try scoring pass to scrum-half Nash who dived in for his second score of the evening. Ponty led 19-17 as the clock approached the hour mark.

Ben Burnell added a penalty to extend the hosts lead in the 65th minute, leaving Merthyr needing a try in the remaining minutes to win the game. Yet with nine minutes to play, the visitors crossed from short range for their third try but Josh Lewis’ conversion drifted wide and the scores were locked at 22-all.

Both teams had chances to get the win in the closing stages of the contest and when the clock ticked into the 77th minute Ponty were awarded a penalty. Ben Burnell stepped up and kicked his second penalty-goal of the match and Pontypridd claimed the Valleys Derby spoils.

Ponty’s next match is a week on Saturday when they welcome Aberavon to Sardis Road on Saturday 23rd March for a 2:30pm kick-off.

FULL TIME – Pontypridd 25-22 Merthyr (14/3/2024)

Match report – Iestyn Thomas


15. Josh Phillips (Louis Rochefort-Shugar). 14. Niko Matawalu. 13. Garyn Smith. 12. Ryan Wilkins (Joseph Scrivens). 11. Tom Edwards. 10. Ben Burnell. 9. Harvey Nash (Joel Raikes).

1. Ben Stephens. 2. Rob Jones (Curtis Greenslade). 3. Tom Harper. 4. Kristian Parker (c) (Mitch Barnard). 5. Macauley Cook. 6. Cai James (Aled Ward). 7. Cally James. 8. Joe Miles.

Subs: 16. Curtis Greenslade. 17. Kian Mattravers. 18. Morgan Bosanko. 19. Mitch Barnard. 20. Aled Ward. 21. Joel Raikes. 22. Joseph Scrivens. 23. Louis Rochefort-Shugar.

Tries: Harvey Nash x 2, Tom Harper

Conversions: Josh Phillips, Ben Burnell

Penalties: Ben Burnell x 2

Yellow Card: Niko Matawalu


15. Gareth Thompson. 14. Morgan Meaclem. 13. Adam Hoskins. 12. Seb Ripley. 11. Lloyd Rowlands. 10. Josh Lewis. 9. James Soanes.

1. Callum Lewis. 2. Ellis Shipp. 3. Rhys Lewis. 4. Callum Bradbury. 5. Paddy McBride (c). 6. Kian Evans. 7. Jack Perkins. 8. Chad Thomas.

Subs: 16. Ben Rhodes. 17. Travis Hawkins. 18. Dave Whiting. 19. Craig Locke. 20. Ben Sier. 21. Ethan Lloyd. 22. Morgan Sieniawski. 23. Jack Kathrens.

Tries: Adam Hoskins, TBC, TBC

Conversions: Gareth Thompson, Josh Lewis

Penalty: Josh Lewis

Referee: Keith David

Assistant referees: 1 – Jason Bessant, 2 – Elfyn Morris Roberts

Golden Bob Man of the Match: Rob Jones

WRU Man of the Match: Rob Jones