By Carl Field
Pontypridd halted their slide in the Principality Premiership and ended a run of three straight losses with a bonus-point victory over Llanelli at Sardis Road.
The final scoreline and five tries to one in Ponty’s favour doesn’t tell the whole story of a game that Llanelli were well in up until the 50th minute when, at only 8-6 down, two quick tries in the space of six minutes took the game away from them.
Pontypridd were led out by outside centre Gavin Dacey, who was making his 250th appearance for the club.
The hosts wasted a good chance to go ahead after 15 minutes when full-back Geraint Walsh’s attempted pass to send in wing Alex Webber down the left was overthrown.
But, after 22 minutes, they were over when Webber – who made rugby history in the reverse fixture by scoring the first-ever six-point try – chased down his own kick to dive over, with fly-half Lewis K Williams converting.
Ponty were not at their fluent best and, while enjoying lots of the ball in what was a lacklustre first half, Llanelli hit back right on half time.
After fly-half Josh Lewis kicked for the corner from a penalty, the resultant line-out saw a barrage of pressure on the Ponty line and, after some dogged defending stopped Llanelli short, a clever dink from centre Steffan Hughes finally cut the hosts open with Lewis touching down in the right corner.
Lewis missed the conversion and a chance to level it heading into the break.
Llanelli carried that momentum in the second half and it looked only a matter of time before they scored again but, out of nothing on 50 minutes, Pontypridd were up the other end and over again themselves.
The attack started with Webber intercepting a pass inside his own 22 before kicking forwards and racing for the line and, although he was held up, the visitors were powerless to stop No.8 Dan Godfrey crashing over moments later, again converted.
That moment undoubtedly turned the game in the hosts’ favour and, now firmly in the ascendency, flanker Jake Thomas scored try number three on 56 minutes, again converted.
And the bonus point was secured on 77 minutes with Webber grabbing his second try of the match, before Lewis K Williams nailed conversion number four.
And there was still time for Thomas to put the icing on the cake with his second – and Ponty’s fifth – try to round-off the win.
Scorers- Pontypridd – Tries: A Webber (2), D Godfrey, J Thomas (2); Cons: Lewis K Williams (4).
Llanelli – Try: J Lewis.
Llanelli head coach Dai Flanagan said: “We were on top at the start of the second half; our style of play challenged Ponty in the wider areas and we were able look threatening.
"We fronted up for long periods against the champions and no doubt we threatened them.
“It was a massive step up performance wise from the last game against Newport, even though the scoreline doesn’t reflect it.”
Pontypridd 38-6 Llanelli