Revenge for Merthyr, a try-fest at Sardis Road and a gritty Cardiff RFC victory - all three of Cardiff Blues' Principality Premiership representatives registered wins last weekend.
PONTYPRIDD 47 NEWPORT 45
November 11, 2017, 13.00, Sardis Road
Those in attendance at Sardis Road were treated to a 14-try thriller, as Pontypridd maintained their place at the top of the Eastern Conference by the skin of their teeth.
It was the visitors who struck first, as an error from Justin Burnell’s side from kick-off gifted full-back Geraint O’Driscoll a try out wide.
Matt O’Brien made no mistakes with the conversion, but their lead would be short-lived as a Diggy Bird penalty was quickly followed by a try for centre Dafydd Lockyer, following good play from Alex Webber and Wayne Evans in the build-up.
Shellard pushed Ponty further ahead moments later, as he latched onto a perfectly timed Gary Williams pass, setting up another straight-forward conversion for Bird.
O’Brien pulled one back for the away side, but once again Ponty replied immediately as Webber turned from creator to scorer, putting his foot on the gas to outpace the Newport defence.
With momentum fully behind the hosts, Evans caught the opposition defence napping with a quick tap, which created the space for Geraint Walsh to secure the bonus point on the verge of half time, and celebrating his 100th appearance for the club with a try.
Ponty looked comfortable at half time, having racked up a 30-12 lead, but in similar fashion to the first half, Newport scored immediately from the restart, as an interception saw Haydn Palmer run in from 50m.
Once again, the hosts would reply quickly, with back row Morgan Sieniawski crossing the whitewash, before a Gary Williams try seemingly put Burnell’s side out of sight.
Newport refused to go down without a fight, and secured a bonus point of their own as O’Brien score his second and his side’s fourth of the afternoon.
Hemi Barnes took advantage of a loose ball and fed Webber, who found the supporting Bird who finished off the break for his side’s seventh try of the game. Bird’s conversion took the outside half’s personal tally up to 17-points.
However, a flurry of late tries by the Black and Ambers saw them close the gap to two points, securing a second bonus point, with Matt O’Brien securing his hat-trick and 25th point of the afternoon.CARDIFF RFC 18 BARGOED 10
November 10, 2017, 19:30, Cardiff Arms Park
Cardiff picked up a win over bottom-of-the-table Bargoed on Friday, as they look to build consistency and remain in-touch with the top three.
Various players were missing due to injury and Anglo-Welsh Cup commitments, but it was the Blue and Blacks who opened the scoring through the boot of debutant Luke Fish.
They would soon cross for the first try of the game, as fine work from centre Will Rees Hole saw him force his way to the tryline for his seventh score of the campaign.
Steve Law’s side couldn’t stretch their advantage further, however, and with half time approaching Bargoed forced their way back into the game, with former Cardiff Blues number eight, Ieuan Jones, forcing his way over.
Bargoed had an opportunity to take the lead going into half-time after a kick downfield, and despite being out-numbered by attackers, heroic defending by outside backs Pat Lewis and James Beal held the visitors out.
A Matthew Lewis penalty edged Bargoed in the lead in the early stages of the second half, but a neat offload by replacement Geraint Watkins released Tom Daley for his first Cardiff try, with James Dixon nailing the conversion to seal an important victory for the Arms Park outfit.
BEDWAS 12 MERTHYR 23
11 November, 2017, 13:30, Bridge Field
Merthyr kept up the pressure on leaders Ponty with a win over early-season high-fliers, Bedwas.
The Ironmen were seeking revenge after Bedwas sealed a 37-24 win at The Wern earlier in the season, and they opened the scoring after just six minutes, with referee Aled Evans awarding a penalty try following a series of dominating scrums.
Matthew Jarvis made no mistakes with the conversion, and pushed his side further ahead with two penalties to give Merthyr a 13-point lead at the the interval.
Bedwas, knowing they needed the next score, were dealt a blow when Ross Wardle was sent to the sin bin early in the second half, but the man disadvantage didn’t stop Andrew Waite from crossing the whitewash, following excellent playmaking skills from outside half, Steffan Jones.
Jones converted to close Merthyr’s lead to six, but five minutes later Merthyr would show their clinical edge to kill any hope of a Bedwas comeback.
Jarvis added his third penalty of the afternoon, before centre Kristian Phillips won the race for a kick and chase to dot down.
Waite would score his second try of the afternoon late on, but it was not enough for the home side, as Merthyr sealed victory.
Merthyr sit five points behind leaders Ponty, and are set to welcome Justin Burnell’s side to The Wern on Friday.
Merthyr v Pontypridd
The Wern, 17 November 2017, KO 19.15
Cross Keys v Cardiff RFC
Pandy Park, 17 November 2017, KO 19.30