Rugby: Swansea's `consolation' try may prove crucial

Pontypridd 31 Swansea 7
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Never can a consolation try have been so crucial. Colin Charvis's injury- time score could well decide the destination of the First Division title in Wales this season.

Pontypridd looked to be sitting pretty, and ready to look down on Swansea from first place, when their inspirational skipper, Neil Jenkins, conjured up their third try six minutes from time.

His conversion took the score to 31-0 but, more importantly, that score made it 3-0 on tries and was all set to bring Ponty the bonus point they needed to overtake Swansea at the top of the league.

But back came the All Whites and they managed to grab the try which enabled them to remain at the top of the table by virtue of their superior try count, 80-60.

The week after the two teams fought out an epic Swalec Cup tie at St Helen's, they were at it again yesterday in an equally gripping and tense high-quality encounter.

This time, though, it was not so close. Still smarting from their 20- 19 reverse, which meant they lost their grip on the cup, Pontypridd gradually wore down their opponents before exploding into action in the second half.

After seeing his opposite number, Aled Williams, fluff two early penalty chances, Jenkins kicked the home side into a 6-0 interval lead with two goals of his own.

Then Wales' record points-scorer took a firm grip of proceedings as he not only provided scoring passes to his wings, Geraint Lewis and Phil Ford, but spotted a gap for himself behind the Swansea defence to win a 30-yard kick-and-chase to the posts for his third try.

His ever-reliable boot did the rest and had it not been for that late shock from the Welsh international flanker Charvis, Pontypridd would have had the perfect afternoon.

As it is, they now have nine games to play, five of them at home, as they chase their first league title. If they can repeat this kind of form then there is no reason why, especially without the distraction of the Cup, they cannot notch another notable landmark in the club's history.

Pontypridd: Tries G Lewis, Ford, Jenkins; Conversions Jenkins 2; Penalties Jenkins 4. Swansea: Tries Charvis; Conversion Harris.

Pontypridd: K Morgan; G Lewis, J Lewis, S Lewis, P Ford; N Jenkins (capt), Paul John; N Eynon, Phil John, A Metcalfe, G Prosser, M Rowley (P Owen, 9), M Lloyd (M Spiller, 76), D McIntosh, M Williams.

Swansea: M Back; W Leach, M Taylor, S Gibbs, A Harris; A Williams, A Booth (R Jones, 38); I Buckett, G Jenkins (capt), C Anthony (K Colclough, 39), P Arnold, S Moore, C Charvis, S Davies, D Thomas.

Referee: P Adams (Ebbw Vale).

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