Champion display from the hopefuls

Pontypridd 54 Swansea 22
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The Independent Online
This was the stuff that champions are made of, yet you are left with the suspicious feeling that Welsh rugby's perennial bridesmaids could once again be left holding little or nothing at the end of the season.

Pontypridd have been in compelling form all season, but this was arguably their best performance of all as Swansea were swept aside.

While everyone was expecting the league leaders, Neath, to secure maximum bonus points at Abertillery, few thought Swansea would concede seven tries.

That was the critical target for Nigel Bezani and his men and they achieved their goal with the final move of the match when the indefatigable Richie Collins scissored with Geraint Lewis and the left wing ran to the posts for his third try.

That made it a full house of bonus points for the home side and the heaviest league defeat in Swansea's history.

It also means that last year's league and cup runners-up have this season's destiny very much in their own hands although they could hardly have conjured up a harder run-in to the end of their league and cup campaigns.

On Saturday they face Llanelli in the semi-final of the Swalec Cup. The following weekend they travel to Stradey Park for a league match. There are home games against Newbridge and Treorchy in the week that follows and a possible cup final appearance on 4 May.

As if that was not tough enough, the league fixtures against Cardiff and Neath have been rearranged for 10 and 14 May.

"We were heartbroken last season when we ended as runners-up in both the league and the cup," Dennis John, the Pontypridd coach, said. "It really hit the players hard, but they picked themselves up at the start of the season and have been determined throughout to win something this time.

It will take a mighty effort to win one or both of the two top titles, but on this form a double is still possible. If they can do it it will not only be thoroughly deserved, but one of the most popular of achievements.

Pontypridd: Tries G Lewis 3, Collins, S Lewis, Jenkins, Cormack; Conversions Jenkins 5; Penalties Jenkins 3. Swansea: Tries Boobyer, Shaw, Charvis; Conversions Williams 2; Penalty Williams.

Pontypridd: G Jones; D Manley, S Lewis (C Cormack, 8), G Lewis; N Jenkins, Paul John; N Bezani (capt), Phil John, N Eynon, G Prosser, M Rowley, M Spiller, D McIntosh (M Lloyd, 77), R Collins.

Swansea: S Jones; A Harris, H Thomas, R Boobyer, Simon Davies; A Williams, Rhodri Jones; K Colclough, G Jenkins, R Shaw, M Evans, P Arnold, R Appleyard (C Charvis, 8), Stuart Davies (capt), D Thomas.

Referee: D R Davies (Llanbradach).