Williams' boot sets up overdue win for Neath

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The Independent Online

It took a long time coming but Neath finally got the win they deserved and stole Pontypridd's unbeaten record in the Welsh/Scottish League. The Welsh All-Blacks, who have had their troubles off the field in recent years, played in front of a 5,000 crowd at The Gnoll to bring back memories of Welsh rugby's oldest clubs heyday. Against a well-organised and well-drilled Pontypridd outfit Neath had to fight all the way .

It took a long time coming but Neath finally got the win they deserved and stole Pontypridd's unbeaten record in the Welsh/Scottish League. The Welsh All-Blacks, who have had their troubles off the field in recent years, played in front of a 5,000 crowd at The Gnoll to bring back memories of Welsh rugby's oldest clubs heyday. Against a well-organised and well-drilled Pontypridd outfit Neath had to fight all the way .

The wing Shane Williams, who has resumed the kicking duties this season, finished the game with a points tally of 15 but even he was outshone by the kicking performance of the Pontypridd fly-half, Lee Jarvis, who kicked two penalties from the halfway line and did not miss a shot at goal. But it was not to be his night as Ponty went down to a Neath side desperate for that first win.

Pontypridd scored the game's first try on the half hour when the flanker Richard Field crashed over in the corner to make the score 9-8 before Jarvis added the first of his two conversions to give his side the lead for the first time. Neath then scored the first of three penalty tries awarded by the referee Hugh Watkins, the Welsh official had to sin-bin three players during the game for professional fouls, but it was not a bad-tempered affair.

Neath went in at the break 16-10 up but after half-time they stretched their lead to 26-16 with a second penalty try, a Williams conversion and a drop goal by James Brown.

Jarvis replied with the last two of five penalties to keep his side in the game before the Neath scrum demolished the Ponty pack on their own line and the referee Watkins awarded another penalty try. The wing Richard Johnston scored a consolation try but it was to prove not enough.

Neath: Tries Penalty try 3; Conversions S Williams 3; Penalties S Williams 3 .Drop goal J Brown. Pontypridd: Tries R Field, R Johnston; Conversions L Jarvis 2. Penalties L Jarvis 5.

Neath: D Williams; Morris, Tiueti, T Davies, S Williams; Brown, Horgan; D Jones, M Davies, Millward, Martin, Llewellyn, Phillips, Francis, Eggar.

Pontypridd: Davey; Woodard, Parker, Bryant, Johnson; Jarvis, Neville; Loader, Vunipola, Sidoli, Graham, Rowlands, Lloyd, Owen, Field.

Referee: H Watkins (WRU).

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