Cardiff came away from Sardis Rd with a losing bonus point in a regional derby that had just about everything the fans could have wanted.
With the game live on S4C a healthy crowd still turned up to see a real Regional battle that swung back and forth right until the last second. The Blue & Black were first to strike. The scrum, which has been up and down all season had its boots on for this one and at the very first scrum they shunted Ponty back at a rate of nots to earn a penalty. That was fired near the twenty-two and form the lineout a slick backs move saw Ben Thomas on a run around that fed Will Rees-Role, he beat his man and found Llywarch Ap Myrddin who finished superbly. And a few minutes later they thought they had doubled the lead when a similar move saw Pat Lewis just lose the ball as he attempted to score.
Ponty got on the board a few minutes later as former Cardiff outside half Diggy Bird landed the first of three penalties that gave the home side an advantage. The home side we starting to dominate possession, and whenever Ponty had the ball the home side had the ball the crowd screamed for off side, eventually the officials gave in to their requests and the resulting penalties gave Ponty a 9-5 lead.
Cardiff also had a man sent to the bin but the defence was solid throughout the game. Ponty though did score in that period as wing Alex Webber crossed in the corner. Once restored to fifteen though the Blue & Blacks came charging back and from a lineout great work by the forwards, and ball retention by the entire team allowed the Blue & Blacks to work Jim Botham over for a try that Ben Thomas converted. They should have gone into half time ahead as Ponty defended a deliberate knock on was penalised. There was now further sanction from the officials even though it was quite clear who the offender was. The penalty kick though drifted wide.
The second half was just as competitive as the first. Cardiff did get ahead when another returnee from injury Gareth Thompson landed a 40 metre penalty. There then followed an intense 20 minutes in which neither side gave anything, defences were completely on top and both side were determined to keep the other at bay. Cardiff earned field position through their dominant scrum and Pontypridd used their work at the rucks to turn ball over to move the ball quickly downfield.
It took until 6 minutes from the end before the next score. Ceri Sweeney landing another penalty given for off side. Thompson restored the lead 2 minutes later with one for the Blue & Blacks, but Sweeney put Ponty ahead with two minutes left after a sweeping move was reviewed by the TMO. The try was ruled out but a previous penalty was awarded to give the home side a two point advantage.
Cardiff still had time to win the game and when a scrum was awarded near the Ponty twenty-two anything was possible. With the feed going to the home side the Blue & Black pack shunted forward and straight over the retreating Ponty pack, somehow though they were allowed to pick the ball up from the disarray and clear. In the final seconds another attack was stopped after a knock on and the game was gone.
Next up Cardiff travel to Newport to take on the Black and Ambers – Saturday 30th December -2:30pm