Rugby Union: Lewis lights up night

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Pontypridd 32

Glasgow Caledonians 3

PONTYPRIDD made it a red-letter day for Wales as they completed a double over Glasgow yesterday to join Llanelli in the European Cup quarter- finals , thanks to a comfortable three-try victory. In reaching the last eight, the Welsh club ended the slim chances of both Glasgow and the Italian side Benetton Treviso finishing runner-up in pool D.

The tension was obvious from the start, but a floodlight failure behind the main stand added to the nerves by causing a 13-minute delay to the start.

Pontypridd, having been the also rans in previous seasons, have set their sights this winter nothing less than gaining their first quarter-final place, but home and away defeats by Benetton Treviso had plunged their advancement into doubt.

Not that you could have found a doubting Thomas among the adoring throng at Sardis Road - and there was almost a flying start for the home team when a glaring error by Glasgow fly-half, Tommy Hayes, nearly ended with a try for Gareth Wyatt. But it was not long before first blood went to the Welshmen, as Wyatt put in a delightful chip kick to the left corner and the fleet-footed Geraint Lewis showed his electrifying pace to beat Rowen Shepherd to the touchdown.

Hayes and Neil Jenkins exchanged penalties, then Jenkins, after missing a speculative long-range effort, extended the home lead with a more straightforward kick, following a late tackle on Simon Enoch.

Ponty, who needed to win by at least three clear points to clinch their quarter-final slot, turned up the heat and got their reward when Dafydd James ended the first half with a brilliant try. Jenkins flipped a loose ball to James inside his own 22 and the centre set off on a thrilling 60-metre run, showing three defenders a clean pair of heels, to power over.

Then Jenkins sent over two more penalties to eclipse Glasgow's already slim hopes of progressing. The home forwards had their tails up and, from a clean lineout take by Greg Prosser, No 8 Dale McIntosh was able to smuggle the ball over for his side's third try. Jenkins hammered another nail in the Glasgow coffin with a conversion from the right touchline, to take his season's tally in Europe to 92 points in six games.

There was more confusion 12 minutes from time when part of the floodlighting again failed, leaving much of the pitch in semi-darkness, but the two skippers agreed to carry on. Jenkins had the final say with another penalty deep in injury time.

Pontypridd: G Wyatt; S Enoch, J Lewis, D James, GO Lewis; N Jenkins (captain), M Taylor; A Griffiths (M Griffiths, 79), A Lamerton, N Tau (N Eynon, 79), G Prosser, I Gough, M Lloyd, M Williams, D McIntosh.

Glasgow Caledonians: R Shepherd (captain); D Stark, C Simmers, I Jardine (A Collins, 56), S Longstaff; T Hayes (L Smith, 68), F Stott (A Bulloch, 79); T Smith (G McIlwham, 68), G Bulloch (K Mckenzie, 72), W Anderson, S Campbell, S Grimes, J White (G Mackay, 68), J Shaw (G Flockhart, 69), R Wainwright.