Cynon Valley - - RUGBY UNION -

PONTY con­ceded the soft­est of early tries, a Dafydd Lock­yer chip-kick in­ter­cepted, al­low­ing his op­po­site num­ber Will Rees-Hole to cruise in for a try in the cor­ner.

The game had got off to a fre­netic start, ebbing to and fro, a Dale Stuckey break giv­ing Ponty mo­men­tum up­field, main­tained by a li­ne­out drive al­low­ing out­side half Diggy Bird to snipe through for a try which he then con­verted.

The vis­i­tors were now see­ing more of the ball, and work­ing off a strong scrum set up an­other at­tack, winger Alex Web­ber mak­ing head­way and find­ing flanker Rhys Shel­lard up in sup­port to score out wide. Cardiff’s re­post was im­me­di­ate, out­side half Gareth Thomp­son stroking over a penalty from near the 22-yard line.

Ponty again showed their in­tent with a dy­namic wide at­tack, only to back­track and con­cede points through an­other Thomp­son penalty, re­flect­ing the com­pet­i­tive na­ture of the game.

The home side main­tained a ter­ri­to­rial ad­van­tage, forc­ing turnovers, but Ponty then set­ting off on a dy­namic coun­terof­fen­sive, winger Alex Web­ber slic­ing through the lay­ers of op­po­si­tion de­fence to score a fine try, con­verted from in front of the posts by Bird. Cardiff again re­sponded with a Thomp­son penalty to keep the score­board tick­ing over and to keep in touch but that ef­fort was can­celled out as Diggy Bird launched a penalty of his own from 40m out.

The ac­tion con­tin­ued un­abated as Cardiff took a quick tap penalty, cen­tre Owen Lane div­ing over to touch down near the cor­ner flag, his score well con­verted by Thomp­son. The home side then suf­fered a dou­ble set­back as cen­tre Will Rees-Hole was yel­low carded for a high tackle and hooker Joe Tom­lin­son stretchered off, bring­ing to an end a thrilling first half with Ponty edg­ing a 21-22 lead.

The game lost none of its mo­men­tum after the restart, but Ponty rue­ing a missed penalty at­tempt by Bird.

The Blue and Blacks then coun­tered with an at­tack from deep, scrum half Lewis Jones cruis­ing in un­op­posed for a try which Thomp­son con­verted. Ponty’s at­tempts to strike back lacked a cut­ting edge, al­low­ing their hosts once more to make head­way up­field.

The con­test re­mained close-fought as Ponty kicked ef­fec­tively for po­si­tion then drove hard into the home 22, al­low­ing Diggy Bird to kick a straight­for­ward penalty, but then just fail­ing to hit the tar­get with a siege-gun ef­fort from half-way. The Val­ley Com­man­dos how­ever re­sponded in style as re­place­ment Hemi Barnes charged for­ward, cen­tre Aled Sum­mer­hill re­ceiv­ing and cross­ing for a try which Bird con­verted, Cardiff full back Dan Fish was sin-binned for a high tackle in the build-up to the score.

A wide at­tack fronted by winger Alex Web­ber kept Ponty on the front foot, then seiz­ing on a loose ball for Hemi Barnes to crash over for a try which Bird again con­verted. The vis­i­tors were now ram­pant, launch­ing a flow­ing foray into the home 22 but fail­ing to cap­i­talise.

The con­test re­mained feisty and fre­netic into its fi­nal 10 min­utes with Ponty hold­ing a ter­ri­to­rial ad­van­tage. Work­ing off a strong set piece the vis­i­tors again ad­vanced as Dafydd Lock­yer cut through, Rhys Shel­lard up in sup­port to cross for a try which Sweeney con­verted.

A late Cardiff re­post came to noth­ing as Ponty held out for a no­table 2846 vic­tory after an en­thralling en­counter.

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