PONTYPRIDD RFC 35 : 26 LLANELLI RFC – MATCH REPORT
Pontypridd VS Llanelli RFC
Sat 26th January 2019, 14:30, Sardis Road WRU National Cup Second Round
Pontypridd progressed to the Quarter Finals of the Welsh Cup for the first time in two years after a tense 35-26 victory over Llanelli at Sardis Road.
The home side started much the brighter and scored their first try of the match inside the first three minutes. After a few phases of play, fly-half Ceri Sweeney dabbed the ball through and a fortuitous bounce favoured Ben Jones who claimed the ball to go over in the corner.
Moments later Sweeney was in the thick of the action once again feeding the ball to the rangy Chris Dicomidis whose gallop to the line was cut short by Llanelli’s Ashley Sutton. Unfortunately, the fullback was unable to stop Dicomidis’ offload to the returning Joel Raikes who went under the posts.
It finished 55-15 to Pontypridd the last time the sides met in the competition back in 2014, and the Turks looked to be heading for a similar result before hooker Greg George crashed over the line to bring the West Walians back into the contest.
Llanelli’s joy was short lived though as Pontypridd continued dominance over the opposition’s scrum left referee Jason Morris with no choice but to give the home side a penalty try. Even with a retreating scrum, Llanelli found more triumph through their driving maul as George’s break away led to his and the away sides second score of the afternoon.
Further penalties against the Llanelli scrum forced the hand of coach Paul Fisher who replaced Liam Tobias with tighthead prop Ryan Thomas. The change did nothing to stop the Pontypridd’s superiority at the set piece as the replacement Thomas was shown a yellow card after Joel Raikes bagged his second try of the match. With a 14-point gap between the two side at half-time, the opening score of the second half looked key to either sides chances of progression to the next round.
This time it was Llanelli that started the half the brighter as fullback Ashley Sutton slalomed his way through the Pontypridd defence to score in the corner, although Ioan Hughes’ conversion went astray. Nevertheless, the try gave the home side the wake-up call they needed as they managed to drive a five-metre scrum over the Llanelli try-line to gain yet another penalty try.
In a seesaw battle with the ‘best from the west’ it turned out to be Pontypridd’s last points of the afternoon. Luckily for the home support Llanelli’s final points came moments later as centre Johnny Hughes cut through the defence to make it a nine-point game. But what proceeded could only be described as a half-hour nail-biting slugfest which neither side would want to look back on come Monday morning.
A scuffle between second-rows Chris Dicomidis and Chris Long was the closest thing to a contest as both players were sent to the bin. Justin Burnell’s side will be eagerly awaiting the quarter-final draw after his sides 35-26 victory with many of the big guns still involved in the competition. 15. Ben Jones (Alex Knott), 14. Alex Webber, 13. Cameron Lewis (Lloyd Rowlands), 12. Daf Lockyer, 11. Dale Stuckey, 10. Ceri Sweeney, 9. Joel Raikes (Huw Rees), 8. Alun Lawrence, 7. Rhys Shellard (Ross Morgan), 6. Lloyd Evans (Rhodri Jones) 5. Chris Dicomidis, 4. Shay Smallman, 3. Gareth Smith (Joe Popple), 2. Rob Jones (Geraint Clarke), 1. Corey Domachowski (Huw Owen).
Tries: Ben Jones (3”), Joel Raikes (7”, 39), Penalty Try (26”, 48”) Cons: Sweeney (3”, 7”, 39”) Golden Bob Man of the Match: Rhys Shellard By Nathan Parker – Pontypridd Media Team