Swansea keep Pontypridd in their place

Swansea 13 Pontypridd 9
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The Independent Online

Swansea 13 Pontypridd 9

If there is such a thing as a bogey side then Swansea are Pontypridd's. Last season they robbed them of the Swalec Cup, and their commitment last night is likely to stop the visitors from winning the league championship this year.

Pontypridd arrived at St Helens seeking their first win in 24 years and started as if they were going to break the hoodoo and reach the summit of the Heineken League First Division. On the night, Llanelli's late try at Ebbw Vale meant that they take over at the top.

After six minutes of frenzied action into the wind last night Pontypridd ran out of puff anyway, Aled Williams giving Swansea heart with a 35-metre penalty. From then on it was a question of how many points Swansea could muster in the first half. The experts reckoned it was a 20-point wind, yet they could managed only 13.

The only other successful kicks of a helter-skelter first half came from the replacement outside-half for Swansea, Lee Davies, who had an eventful 12 minutes when he came on to allow Aled Williams to undergo repairs after cutting his head.

Not only did Davies have a hand in the move that led to Roddy Boobyer's try, but he knocked over the wide-angled conversion as well as landing a penalty awarded for a head-high tackle on him in the Ponty 22.

The latest Pontypridd goalkicking phenomenon, Lee Jarvis, was restricted to one tentative kick into the wind in the first half, yet made up for lost time with the wind at his back. Two wide-angled penalties in two minutes were just the tonic his reshaped side needed as they sought to bridge the gap and take over at the top.

The second half mirrored the first - the team facing the elements spent 40 minutes on the defensive, and Swansea were magnificent in their commitment as they frustrated Pontypridd's back-row battering ram.

So it was left to Jarvis to keep closing the gap, the teenager hitting the mark from 49 metres with 12 minutes to go to set up a frantic finale.

Swansea: Try Boobyer; Conversion L Davies; Penalties Williams, L Davies. Pontypridd: Penalties Jarvis 3.

Swansea: R Boobyer; A Harris, D Weatherley, M Taylor, S Davies; A Williams (L Davies, 19-31), Robert Jones (capt); K Colclough, G Jenkins, C Anthony, S Moore, R Moriarty, C Charvis, M Evans, D Thomas.

Pontypridd: C Cormack; D Manley, S McIntosh, S Lewis, G Lewis; L Jarvis, Paul John; N Bezani (capt), J Evans, A Metcalfe, G Prosser, P Owen, Martyn Williams, D McIntosh, R Collins.

Referee: T Rowlands (Treorchy).