NEIL JENKINS used his kicking boot to deadly effect against his former team-mates last night, landing eight out of nine goals for 21 points to keep Cardiff's good run of form going.
For those people who had made such a big thing about Jenkins playing against his old side, there was never a flicker of sentiment in his approach. The Welsh outside-half might be Ponty through and through, but he was the consummate professional in his approach to the game and by the end of the first half his kicking had helped his new club to weather a considerable early storm from the Welsh-Scottish League leaders.
While Jenkins' replacement in the Pontypridd No 10 jersey, the ex-Cardiff player Lee Jarvis, missed with three penalties in the first half, the world-record Test points scorer hit the mark every time he was asked. Five penalties and a conversion of a try by the resurgent No 8 Emyr Lewis made it a personal haul of 17 points downwind and by the interval the home side were well on their way to bridging the gap between themselves and Ponty at the top of the League.
The complex nature of the points system within the League this season meant that there were only two up for grabs on a wet and windy night because this game had been scheduled for the pre-World Cup period. But with a game in hand on the leaders - a four-point match to boot - the signs are that the Jenkins-inspired Blue-and-Blacks are ready to mount a title challenge.
That Lewis try, coming from a take at the tail of a line-out five metres out from the Ponty line, summed up Cardiff's pack power, as it came when the Wales lock Craig Quinnell was spending 10 minutes in the sin-bin.
Ponty had a similar attacking line-out just before the break, but failed miserably to convert their best chance of the half.
Cardiff's dominance continued in the second half, although their pack rhythm was upset on the hour when Dale McIntosh forced Jonathan Humphreys off the field with a double short-arm which split the home hooker's forehead and would surely have warranted a sending off had either the referee or touch judge seen it.
Ponty had their lock, Will James, sent to the sin-bin for a high tackle and that was the cue for Cardiff to cut loose, David Young grabbing the first of three second half tries.
Cardiff: Try E Lewis, D Young, N Walne, G Thomas; Conversions N Jenkins 3; Penalties N Jenkins 5. Pontypridd: Try G Wyatt; Conversions L Jarvis; Penalties L Jarvis.
Cardiff: R Williams (M Rayer, 64); L Botham, G Thomas, L Davies, N Walne; N Jenkins, R Howley; S John, J Humphreys (A Lewis, 61), D Young (capt), C Quinnell, M Voyle, G Kacala (O Williams, 74), M Williams, E Lewis.
Pontypridd: B Davey; G Wyatt, S Parker, J Lewis (J Calderley, 70), G O Lewis; L Jarvis, P John (capt); C Loader, F Vunipola (A Lamerton, 49), S Cronk (N Tau, 49), W James, I Gough, G Lewis, D McIntosh (M Lloyd, 59), R Field (J Machacek, 67).
Referee: D R Davies (WRU).