Cardiff earned a losing bonus point from an entertaining encounter with Pontypridd at the BT Sport Arms Park, but it could have been so much more.
In a game that had plenty of twists and turns it was the Blue & Blacks who gained an early lead. A lineout in the Ponty twenty-two was worked into midfield and when James Whittigham broke the line he was able to feed James Loxton to score in the corner. Callum Hall supplied the conversion from wide out. Pontypridd responded two minutes later. A lineout deep in the Cardiff half was driven towards the line and when it was stopped wing Alex Webber picked up and was driven over by a few of his pack colleagues, Ceri Sweeney levelled things with the extras.
Cardiff were next on the scoreboard. The Cardiff pack were dominating Ponty and when a penalty near half way was pushed into the corner and the lineout drive was pulled down a breakaway by Scott Andrews gave him enough room to drive forward and stretch over the line, Hall was again on target to edge Cardiff back in front. Ponty responded in kind, again from a short range lineout, former Blue & Black Dan Godfrey at the back to plunge over.
It wasn’t all about the forwards though. From the restart Webber claimed a loose ball in his own half and set off. Tackles were missed on the big winger and he was able to get into the Cardiff twenty-two before offloading to Bradley Coombes who dived over in the corner. And Ponty gained their bonus point try when a midfield move sent Captain Daffydd Lockyer straight up the middle to score under the posts. Sweeney converted to send his side in 28-16 up at the break.
The early minutes of the second half belonged to the Blue & Blacks. The forward domination at the set piece continued and when a Ponty scrum was turned over livewire scrum half Tavis Knoyle created enough space for Ceri Young to squeeze over in the corner. Hall again expertly converting from wide out. The game then settled into a period of scrappy play, neither side could gain a foothold either with the ball or territory. Both sides had opportunities to score. Andrews was again to the fore as Cardiff went in search of a score to take them back in front, but when he was stopped the move broke down and Ponty were able to turn the ball over and clear. The visitors too had chances. Dale Stuckey made a couple of breaks that ended with turnovers. And it was a turnover of sorts that provided the game’s final drama. A hack downfield by Pontypridd went dead and was returned for a scrum near the visitors twenty-two. Cardiff kept control of the ball and moved it from side to side before creating an overlap on the left. Richard Smith took the ball straight towards the line but as he tackled his offload drifted forward and Whittigham’s try was ruled out. With only seconds left Ponty were able to secure the restart and kill the game as the ball went into touch.