This was one of those matches where neither side deserved to lose, but proved an excellent win by Pontypridd who certainly dominated the early exchanges, though Rhondda proved the stronger side the longer the match went on and were unlucky not to win it at the death.
There were plenty of positives for both sides to take away from the match and every player should be proud of their performance in a match that was a fantastic advert for junior rugby in Wales.
The last match between these two was a very tough and intense encounter that ended in a draw, this match proved no easier with only one point separating the sides at the end.
For the first quarter of the match Pontypridd were in complete control and it looked like being a long night for the Rhondda. Utilising their much bigger backs to good effect, Pontypridd scored two sparkling tries during this period, the first by winger Josh Pritchard (Pontypridd RFC) who showed excellent finishing after good work by centre Rory Woodland (Pontyclun RFC) to create an overlap for Josh to exploit. The second try was by Daniel Fletcher (Llantwit Fardre) who barged over after some good forward play by the Pontypridd pack, with the try converted by Rhys Hughes (Llantwit Fardre). Ponty took a deserving 12 0 lead.
Despite being on the rack for a long period, Rhondda finally started to come into the game in the second quarter, thanks to some stern tackling in the midfield by inside centre Callum Phillips and strong forwards play by the pack. Rhonddas fight-back was lead by Captain James Parry (Treorchy RFC), scrum-half Sam Jones (Ystrad Rhondda) and hooker Ethan Lewis (Treorchy RFC). Sharp handling by Rhondda eventually saw the ball spread quickly to winger Dale Hughes (Pontypridd RFC) who showed great strength, along with pace to wrong-foot and then round the Pontypridd defence to score a fantastic try that was converted by Bobi Sheppard (Ystrad Rhondda). Galvanised by the try, Rhondda started to show glimpses of what they are capable of, but it wasnt enough to prevent Pontypridd scoring another try by their giant centre Rory Woodland. Despite this setback Rhondda started to successfully mark the huge Pontypridd centres out of the game.
With his pack starting to take control, Rhondda scrum-half Sam Jones picked up and went from the base of a scrum to score a fine opportunist try that was successfully converted by Bobi Sheppard for a half time score of 17 14 to Pontypridd.
The second half saw Pontypridd start to dominate again, with Steffan Jenkins (Pontypridd RFC), Paul Minty (Porth Harlequins) and Michael Connor (Pontypridd RFC) prominent in the pack. Their dominance saw a struggling Rhondda concede a penalty ten metres out. Buoyed with confidence Pontypridd chose to run the ball and eventually the hugely impressive Michael Connor forced his way through a crowded defence to score a fine forwards try to give Pontypridd a 22 14 lead.
After a group huddle and a polite word from their coach Chris Jones, Rhondda finally stepped up an extra gear that saw them go on to control the rest of the match. Eventually their resilience was awarded with a try by Callum? that was successfully converted by inside-centre Callum Phillips to put Rhondda within a point. With time running out Rhondda threw everything at Pontypridd, but some excellent defence saw Rhondda held up short, time after time. In the last move of the match the impressive Jack Foulkes fed Dale Hughes, who not for the first time forced his way through several defenders before being brought down just short of the line with a foot forced into touch.
Full Time: Pontypridd 22 - 21 Rhondda
TRY Scorers for Pontypridd: Josh Pritchard (Pontypridd RFC), Daniel Fletcher (Llantwit Fardre RFC), Michael Connor (Pontypridd RFC) and Rory Woodland (Pontyclun RFC). Rhys Hughes (Llantwit Fardre) kicked one conversion.
TRY Scorers for Rhondda: Dale Hughes (Pontypridd RFC), Sam Jones (Ystrad Rhondda RFC), and Callum? Bobi Sheppard (Ystrad Rhondda) kicked 2 Conversions and Callum Phillips kicked one.
R & P Windows Support Junior Rugby at Pontypridd RFC
Pontypridd RFC recently received a kind donation of £1000 to the clubs Mini & Junior Section from R & P Windows of Thurston Road Pontypridd.
The cheque was presented by Company Director Steve Parfitt to the Mini & Junior Section at the half-time interval during Pontypridd RFCs Premiership match against their city rivals Cardiff RFC last Saturday 30 October.
R & P Windows has been established since 1981 and has developed into one of the most reputable companies in South Wales. They are a family run business that prides themselves on quality products and high class workmanship. R & P Windows contact details http://www.randpwindows.co.uk/, tel. 01443 485100.