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Champions teach Drovers a lesson

Ponty score: Lapse defence allow the visitors to grab the lead (Pic. Mike Jones)
Ponty score: Lapse defence allow the visitors to grab the lead (Pic. Mike Jones)

Llandovery 12

Pontypridd 18

LLANDOVERY were taught a lesson in clinical finishing by a ruthless Pontypridd side that showed exactly why they have dominated the division for so long, winning with the last action of the match.

It was the Drovers second defeat on the bounce having lost their other crunch match at the top to Ebbw Vale last time out in the league. This defeat leaves them in third place tied on 51 points with Ebbw Vale and Aberavon, with Newport two points back in fifth. As always everyone is chasing Ponty, who have move two points clear at the top whilst also possessing a game in hand.

Ponty showed their attacking intent from the off, releasing Alex Webber on a run down the wing, but failing to capitalise. The Drovers gained a position in the visitors’ half, and after a brief bout of fisticuffs, the hosts back rowers Matthew Harbut and Rhys Shellard were both consigned to the sin bin.

Having spent time pegged back in their own twenty-two, soaking up pressure, Ponty were able to clear upfield but then losing their own line-out ball to yield the initiative. The deadlock was finally broken as Ceri Sweeney stroked over a simple penalty with thirteen minutes gone. The game was struggling to ignite in arctic conditions, but Ponty were maintaining a territorial advantage with the referee’s decisions going their way.

Ponty continued to advance, and winger Chris Clayton was forced into touch just short of scoring. Considerable pressure applied in the home twenty-two came to nothing, as the Ponty attackers spilled the ball with the try-line begging. The breakthrough finally came from a close range scrum attack, centre Dafydd Lockyer charging over for a try, which Ceri Sweeney converted.

Llandovery responded with a rare incursion into their opponents’ half, but Ponty seized a turnover in loose play and launched a dynamic counter offensive, undone by a costly knockon.

A neat break by outside half Jack Maynard gave the Drovers forward momentum, which led to Ponty full back Geraint Walsh being yellow carded for infringing, and the home pack then driving over for a try claimed by number 8 Richard Brooks. A Ceri Sweeney penalty in response drifted wide of target, the interval coming with Ponty holding a slender four point advantage.

The second half resumed as a dogfight for possession in midfield, Llandovery going close to scoring but called back for a knock-on. A clever chip kick by Sweeney, gathered by Lockyer, gave Ponty impetus upfield but Llandovery then wrestled a turnover, reflecting the evenly balanced nature of the contest.

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Ponty upped the tempo with a dynamic wide attack, forging their way into the home twenty-two, but a concerted phase of pressure going unrewarded. The visitors continued to pound the gain line, but conceded a turnover, which allowed Llandovery to lift the siege. The game was moving into its final quarter with Ponty maintaining a territorial advantage but with no points return.

Both teams tried their hand in attack, but cancelled each other out with neither twenty-two line threatened and the contest pretty much at a stalemate. The referee’s whistle was becoming increasingly prominent as the game continued to be fought out as an uncompromising duel for possession in no-man’sland. Llandovery kicked for position, edging into their opponents’ twentytwo and ever nearer to the try line. The breakthrough came as the ball was whipped out for full back Will Thomas to dart over for a crucial score, the wide angle conversion rebounding off a post.

With the clock ticking into its final few minutes Ponty forged upfield in an attempt to salvage the game, the pack driving to the line but held up short. A series of attacking scrums followed before the ball was shipped out for centre Adam Thomas to slice through for a try under the posts, converted by Sweeney, to break Llandovery hearts.

A brief Llandovery offensive into injury time was repelled and Ponty claimed a hard fought victory.


Llandovery: 15. Will Thomas 14. Mike Evans 13. Jacob Cowley 12. Rhodri Jones 11. Matthew Jacobs 10. Jack Maynard 9. Lee Rees: 1. Wyn Jones 2. Luke Lewis 3. Greg Cunniffe 4. Bryn Griffiths 5. Matthew Harbut 6. Stuart Worrall 7. Shaun Miles 8. Richard Brooks

Replacements: 16. Berian Watkins 17. Dean Howells 18. Jake Baker 19. Richard Rees 20. Tom Ball 21. Sam Soul 22. Aaron Warren 23. Rhodri Davies

Pontypridd: 15. Geraint Walsh. 14. Alex Webber. 13. Adam Thomas. 12. Dafydd Lockyer – cpt. 11.Chris Clayton. 10. Ceri Sweeney. 9. Lloyd Williams: 1. Chris Phillips. 2. Huw Dowden. 3. Keiron Assiratti. 4. Hemi Barnes. 5. Jordan Sieniawski. 6. Wayne O’Connor. 7. Rhys Shellard. 8. Dan Godfrey.

Replacements: 16. Joel Raikes. 17. Lewis K Williams. 18. Gary Williams. 19. Corrie Tarrant. 20. Dafi Davies. 21. Josh Novell. 22. Jordan Grass. 23. Mitch Auger.