Ford the entertainer rewards Cardiff's enterprise

Cardiff 36 Pontypridd 31
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The Independent Online
ROBERT COLE

Cardiff 36 Pontypridd 31

If nothing else, the new bonus points scheme in the Heineken League will ensure that teams keep on playing flat out to the final whistle this season, as Pontypridd proved in scoring twice in the closing minutes.

Many people feel the idea of awarding League points for tries is an artificial way of trying to force clubs to play a more expansive game. It may be an incentive, but the only way to improve the style and standard of the game in Wales is surely through better coaching and a more positive attitude.

The attacking philosophy of the Cardiff coach, Alex Evans, is well-known and brought the Arms Park club an outstanding try haul in their championship run last season. It can, however, be a little predictable at times when the side builds up the phases in order to clear the way to bring in the back line on the fourth or fifth drive.

That is why a player like Steve Ford is so priceless. Here is someone with the talent and ability to really entertain. More of his kind are what the game needs to bring back the fans. Once again Cardiff proved that he who dares so often wins.

Ford's try hat-trick took his League tally to 48 and hoisted his tally for the club to 163, 22 behind Bleddyn Williams' all-time best. His triple strike guaranteed the champions a bonus point against a side whose line they failed to cross last season, while two tries at the death by scrum- half Paul John allowed Pontypridd to salvage something from the afternoon.

In fact, the visitors went to the top of the First Division thanks to that bonus point, although they have played one game more than their nearest rivals.

Cardiff: Tries: Ford 3, penalty Try; Conversions: John 2; Penalties: John 4. Pontypridd: Tries: John 2, Manley; Conversions: Jenkins 2; Penalties: Jenkins 4.

Cardiff: C John; S Ford, M Ring (S Davies, 70), S Hill, O Thomas; A Davies, A Booth; A Lewis, J Humphreys (H Bevan, 72), L Mustoe, J Wakeford, K Stewart, M Bennett, H Taylor (capt), V Davies.

Pontypridd: C Cormack; D Manley, J Lewis (N Lloyd, 37), S Enoch, C Thomas (G Jones, 40); N Jenkins, Paul John; N Bezani (capt) (N Eynon, 77), Phil John, J Alvis (A Metcalfe, 64), P Owen, M Rowley, M Lloyd, D McIntosh (M Spiller, 37), R Collins.

Referee: C Thomas (Bryncoch).

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