Llanelli put in a very brave performance at Sardis Road but in the end came up just short in this very competitive cup tie, Ponty move on to the quarter finals whilst The semi’s now have to focus on getting Premiership wins for the remainder of the season.
The home side started much the brighter and scored their first try of the match inside the first three minutes. After a few phases of play, fly-half Ceri Sweeney dabbed the ball through and a fortuitous bounce favoured Ben Jones who claimed the ball to go over in the corner.
Moments later Sweeney was in the thick of the action once again feeding the ball to the rangy Chris Dicomidis whose gallop to the line was cut short by Llanelli’s Ashley Sutton. Unfortunately, the fullback was unable to stop Dicomidis’ offload to the returning Joel Raikes who went under the posts.
After just seven minutes the visitors were down by 14 points and it looked like they were in for a long afternoon! But on 19 mins hooker Greg George who was making his first 80 minute start this season crashed over from a short range maul to get Llanelli on the scoreboard. Ioan Hughes slotted the conversion.
Llanelli’s joy was short lived though as Pontypridd continued dominance over the opposition’s scrum left referee Jason Morris with no choice but to give the home side a penalty try. Even with a retreating scrum, Llanelli found more triumph through their driving maul as George’s break away led to his and the away sides second score of the afternoon, again Ioan Hughes was successful with the conversion.
Further penalties against the Llanelli scrum forced the hand of coach Paul Fisher who replaced Liam Tobias with tighthead prop Ryan Thomas. The change did nothing to stop the Pontypridd’s superiority at the set piece as the replacement Thomas was shown a yellow card after Joel Raikes bagged his second try of the match. With a 14-point gap between the two side at half-time, the opening score of the second half looked key to either sides chances of progression to the next round.
This time it was Llanelli that started the half the brighter as fullback Ashley Sutton slalomed his way through the Pontypridd defence to score in the corner, although Ioan Hughes’ conversion went astray. Nevertheless, the try gave the home side the wake-up call they needed as they managed to drive a five-metre scrum over the Llanelli try-line to gain yet another penalty try.
In a seesaw battle it turned out to be Pontypridd’s last points of the afternoon. Luckily for the home support Llanelli’s final points came moments later as centre Johnny Hughes cut through the defence to make it a nine-point game.
Llanelli were now well and truly in the game and whilst the contest became a little bogged down, a penalty on 75mins in front of the posts was turned down by Llanelli who instead opted for the lineout. Had they opted for three points, the deficit would have been down to a single score and I’m sure the home supporters would have been well and truly on edge. In the final minutes Llanelli continued to have great field position but failed to win crucial lineouts which who knows may have resulted in a further score. So Llanelli go out of this year’s Welsh Cup but can take a lot of positives going into their coming league games.
Final Score Pontypridd 35 Llanelli 26