Ponty prone

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The Independent Online
PONTYPRIDD blew their chance to narrow the gap at the top of Wales's Heineken League in spectacular fashion at Treorchy yesterday. While the leaders Cardiff were slipping up against Newport, Pontypridd had two forwards sent off - the second row Mark Rowley and the prop James Alvis - and eventually lost 11-9 when Wayne Booth landed a last-minute drop goal which lifted his team from the foot of the table.

Third-placed Llanelli made up ground by beating Neath 18-6 with their full-back Justin Thomas scoring his seventh try of the season. Swansea ran in 11 tries on their way to a 71-13 demolition of Abertillery to which Alan Harris contributed 23 points and Aled Williams 18. Aberavon are now bottom after losing 22-3 to Newbridge, but Ebbw Vale's improved form continued with a 10-8 home win over Bridgend.

A late change of kicker enabled the holders, the Midlands, to maintain their 100 per cent record in the CIS Insurance Divisional Championship against the South-West at Gloucester. After several unsuccessful attempts, the Midlands captain Paul Grayson stepped down in favour of James Quantrill. The Rugby full-back duly supplied two penalties to turn a deficit into a 16-11 victory.

Warwickshire barely noticed Quantrill's absence as they continued their defence of the County Championship by overpowering Notts, Lincs & Derbys 37-3.

Jim Staples scored two of the Exiles' four tries in their 28-22 Irish Inter-Provincial Championship success over Connacht at Sunbury. Ulster beat Munster 14-10 while Leinster shocked tourists Transvaal 15-6 with Alan McGowan kicking all his side's points.