Wyatt sparks Pontypridd into action

Rugby Union

Neath 3 Pontypridd 29

It took a moment of inspired handling and a lightning turn of speed from the teenage wing Gareth Wyatt to lift Pontypridd out of their torpor and help them extend their lead at the top of the Heineken League last night.

The league leaders arrived at the ground where they had conceded seven tries on the last day of last season - when Neath stole the championship with a thrilling 45-25 victory - seeking to right the ship after losing for only the second time this winter against Llanelli at the weekend.

With the lead at the top slashed to four points, opening up the title race to both Swansea and Llanelli, victory at The Gnoll was vital, and it was surprising to see the usually composed and self-assured Pontypridd side all fingers and thumbs for the opening quarter of an hour.

Not that Neath, down in the doldrums at present, were much better in an error-strewn first half that had everyone scratching their heads at the low standard. Then four passes went like bullets from a gun as Ponty attacked down the narrow side to give Wyatt half a yard in which to weave his magic and leave the covering Ian Boobyer wondering where he had gone.

Crispin Cormack carried on where he had started with his goal-kicking and missed the conversion - one of six misses throughout the night. Neil Jenkins, Pontypridd's Lion in waiting, must have been kicking himself on the touchline as he saw kick after kick straying wide of the posts. Not that Ponty, seeking their first league title, had come looking for points via the boot while their skipper was still nursing his broken arm. They were seeking tries and bonus points.

After that nervous start, Wyatt's try certainly did the trick because two minutes later some more basketball style handling led to a second try by the scrum-half Paul John.

Cormack at least managed to convert that, yet having gathered momentum Ponty spent the rest of the half on the back foot as Neath threw everything at them. Wave after wave of attacks came from the home team, but time after time Ponty's gallant defenders buried their men to keep their line in tact. Titles might be won by scoring tries, but they are also secured through watertight defence.

All that Neath got for their hard work was a Darren Case penalty five minutes before half-time. The only other consolation for them was that they managed to stop Ponty from securing both bonus points by restricting them to three more tries in the second half.

The centre Steele Lewis grabbed two of them as he atoned for his dismissal in last season's game. The end result was three points for Ponty to extend their gap to seven points.

Neath: Penalty Case. Pontypridd: Tries S Lewis 2, Wyatt, Paul John, G Lewis; Conversions Cormack 2.

Neath: D Case; C Higgs, Richard Jones, J Funnell (G Davies, 63), B Graham; D Morris, D Hawkins; D Morris, M Thomas (B Williams, 68), J Davies (capt), S Martin, N Watkins, Robin Jones (G Newman, 73), S Williams, I Boobyer.

Pontypridd: K Morgan; G Wyatt, J Lewis, S Lewis, P Ford (G Lewis, 76); C Cormack, Paul John; N Eynon, Phil John, A Metcalfe, G Prosser, P Owen (P Thomas, 57), M Lloyd, D McIntosh (capt; M Edwards, 34), M Williams.

Referee: W D Bevan (Clydach).

Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
News
Prince William and his wife Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge show their newly-born daughter, their second child, to the media outside the Lindo Wing at St Mary's Hospital in central London, on 2 May 2015.
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before