Jarvis proves genuine article

Pontypridd 48 Bridgend 11
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The Independent Online
THOSE who once believed that Pontypridd were a one-man team that would be lost without Neil Jenkins may be forced to think again. The 19- year-old Lee Jarvis, following his recent magnificent display at Newport, once more revealed remarkable poise to steady the ship and put Pontypridd on course by kicking three penalties and a drop goal in the first half of yesterday's match, and none were easy.

After a devastating second half Pontypridd registered their highest score against Bridgend since the war. Although played in dank and slippery conditions, it was a fine match. My faith in Welsh club rugby is rapidly being restored.

Jarvis started it all off, with a penalty and a drop goal in the first 10 minutes, and after another 45-yard penalty, Bridgend were in trouble. Matthew Lewis, another candidate for Wales outside half, had an opportunity to recoup but missed a penalty in front of the posts, only for Jarvis to thump over another.

Bridgend finally responded with a terrific sweeping three-quarter movement only for a hand to knock down the final pass. A penalty was awarded under the posts which Lewis kicked, followed by another three minutes later to halve the lead.

At this stage Bridgend were beginning to worry the home side with their speed about the field and to the breakdown, and the inventiveness of their back play.

However Pontypridd are a grinding and determined side and a series of attacks finally brought a try by David Manley, which owed much to two interventions by the evergreen Ritchie Collins. Jarvis converted to give his side a comfortable 19-6 lead at half time. The second half was a belter. Early on Bridgend were attacking fiercely when Gerard Lewis intercepted a pass 10 yards out from his own line and raced the length of the field for a try which Jarvis again kicked.

Pontypridd were now looking for bonus points and sustaining penalty kicks. A tapped penalty was taken on by the formidable veteran Nigel Bezani before Paul John found Manley on the narrow side for a try. This was followed by a try by Steve Lewis, cancelled by one by Andrew Williams for Bridgend, but two more tries, by Phil John and Geraint Lewis, gave Pontypridd two bonus points.

Pontypridd: C Cormack; D Manley, J Lewis, S Lewis, G Lewis, L Jarvis, P John; N Bezani (capt), P John, A Metcalfe, G Prosser, P Owen, M Lloyd, R Collins, D McIntosh.

Bridgend: C Bradshaw; P Jones, J Ball, D James, G Wilkins; M Lewis, R Jones; D Francis, I Greenslade, S Gale, S Ford, G Rowlands, N Thomas, J Forster, A Williams.

Referee: G Simmonds (WRU).