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.
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.
Late goal sees Lido beat Ammanford
Report and photo courtesy of Ian Parfitt
AMMANFORD suffered the heartbreak of late defeat at Afan Lido on Friday night with an 87th minute winner from Liam Griffiths securing a 2-1 win and all three points for the hosts.
Afan Lido started the match on the front foot and Ammanford were clearly struggling with the pace on Lido’s flanks. A foul in the box led to a penalty for Lido in the 11th minute which was dispatched by Chris Jones.
Afan Lido were largely on top in the first half however were unable to add to their goal. Ammanford were restricted to half chances although Callum Silcox did hit the post with an angled shot.
Ammanford would have hoped for an early goal in the second half and that’s exactly what they got in the 48th minute, the excellent Jordan Langley spotting the keeper off his line and hitting a looping shot into the net from 30 yards.
This goal clearly settled Ammanford and spurred on by a vociferous away support went in search of a second goal.
Afan Lido rode their luck in the 63rd minute when Owyn Airey smashed a shot against the bar.
Callum Silcox then forced Lido keeper Steve Cann into an excellent save in the 74th minute with a rasping, long range effort.
Ammanford looked the most likely team to score and had several other opportunities which they failed to convert.
Ammanford were playing well with Morgan Clarke particularly influential in midfield.
Just when it looked as if a hard fought contest was heading for a draw Griffiths swept home from close range in the 87th minute following a Lido corner.
Ammanford frantically went in search of a second equaliser in the time that remained but this eluded them and the final whistle brought about feelings of what could have been for the away team.
Ammanford will look to put things right in their next match, a home encounter against Goytre Utd on Friday (Sept 30).
Williams’ wonder strike sinks Village
CWMAMMAN United came away from a hard fought match at near neighbours Garden Village in front of a large crowd with the three points following a powerful strike from Sion Dafydd Williams.
It was the second win on the trot for Cwm and manager Paul Lewis will have been especially pleased with a second consecutive clean sheet.
Cwm started well and dominated the first half that saw a Cory Saunders inswinging corner beat everyone and bounce out off the far post while Williams then later saw his shot agonisingly trickle past the post.
A high ball in to the Village box then hit the defender’s hand and Cwm had a penalty. Kyle Ashford struck it well but it was a tad too high and Wyn Walters made an excellent save. Charlie Davies then had an opportunity following a great move but fired just wide.
Ross Morgan, Ashford and Davies were dominating midfield while Grant Rees and Callum Dougal in the heart of the defence were controlling the Village attacks.
The goal was coming but not expected as spectacularly as it did when in the 39th minute a cross into the box saw Sion Dafydd Williams leaving Walters with no chance as he rocketed the ball into the net from the edge of the box as he seemed to be facing away from goal.
As the first period Garden Village will have been relieved to see half time just a goal down and will have been happy that they were still in it.
The second half saw a more even game with Walters again making excellent saves from Keiran Richards and from a Williams header. Village were now breaking more and Kai Rees who had tidied up excellently behind the Cwm defence throughout had to make a great finger tip save in the 70th minute.
Both sides then had to make changes due to injury with Cwm losing Leon Croucher, Williams and Richards to be replaced by Harrison
Thomas, Jordan Sullivan and Alex Giardelli returning to his old club.
Cwm seemed to be seeing the game out comfortably but had a late scare when Giardelli was given a red card for a reckless challenge in the 98th minute and nervously had to defend one last free kick.
An important win in the context of the season and Cwm now entertain Treharris Athletic on Saturday, October 1, at Grenig Park, 2.30pm
Amman earn first win of the season
AMMAN United claimed their first win of the season after an opening-day draw, and a cup defeat at Haverfordwest last weekend.
However, you would have been hard pushed to imagine a 50-point final-score when, just before half time, the score remained 0-0.
But two injury time scores had then given Amman an unlikely 12-0 interval lead against the Bulldogs.
A bright opening from United saw centre Gavin Lewis, on yet another comeback, show his trickery with a nice run and offload early on. Hooker George Clark had a fine game and was in the thick of everything, as were fellow forwards Iwan Davies, Dan Jones, Rhydian Jones and captain Alun Lewis.
Bynea suffered a very early blow, losing Corey Butler to an untimely injury, and they were later to also see Jamie Thomas limp off before half time.
These injuries meant a large period of added-time, and the Bulldogs’ valiant defence cracked during the injury-time as Joel Foster and Alun Lewis combined to put in flanker Rhydian Jones for the opening try, which Tom Caddell converted.
A frustrating couple of minutes for the visitors was compounded when a quick tap and go penalty from scrum half Foster saw him smuggle over the try line for a second try on the stroke of half time.
The Reds continued in good heart after the restart, and after some good play,Foster and and Dan Jones were involved before Rhydian Jones slipped a fine offload to skipper Alun Lewis who went under the posts for another converted try.
Another “vet” came on, Adrian Thomas off the bench as the home side largely dominated with their pack in the ascendency, Cian Lewis, Jason Knell and Rhys Phillips having put in a good shift throughout.
The Bulldogs then had a purple patch for a while,centre Jack Mal almost finishing off a fine move, before more calamity struck for them as Jake Sam was sadly stretchered off.
Amman capitalised and grabbed a bonus point try when the excellent George Clarke went over for another score to make it 24-0.
But the dogged visitors were always a threat, and carved out an excellent try for their efforts as wing Nathan Baker finished off a well-worked team move, which outside half Finlay Cook converted.
Amman hit back when the back row combined well before Dan Jones went over the whitewash for a try.
A very young Bynea side battled to the end,and some more excellent play was rewarded with a try for Tom Badger, converted by Cook.
However, the home side had the last word and grabbed a very late injury time try as the industrious Rhydian Jones crossed for the final score of the game.
Amman face a tough trip to Tumble on Saturday, October 1, while Bynea are home against New Dock Stars.
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