Pontypridd 35 Llandovery 20
The Drovers were without skipper Phil Day but gave Pontypridd one deuce of a game at Sardis Road before going down to defeat at the hands of the defending champions, writes Huw S Thomas.
The sides had drawn 27-27 at Church Bank before Christmas with the Drovers at one stage leading 27-15 but this time the West Walians could not quite emulate that fine performance.
They had plenty of possession and good territory and often threatened the home line after clever approach work but a failure to deliver the killer blow was to cost them dearly..
Ponty won because of their edge at the contact area and the ability of their forwards to turn over possession when defending their try line plus a rugged directness behind the scrum.
Llandovery President Phil Davies rued his side’s missed chances.
“When you come to Sardis Road, you have to convert limited chances into points. We could not do that but we were always in the game and our hopes of a play off place remain undiminished.”
“We have three home games and three away games left and are confident that we will be there or thereabouts come the end of the regular season.”
Although the Drovers deserved a losing bonus point, they could not find the clinical edge that is a Ponty hallmark but few clubs will challenge Ponty so hard in their own patch.
League leaders Carmarthen Quins travel to the House of Pain this Saturday, defending a three point lead over the defending champions and know that they need to play out of their skins to keep at the top of the table.
The Quins are on 55 points, Ponty 52 and Llandovery 50 but Ponty have two games in hand over the Quins and three over the Drovers and must be favourites to finish first.
Llandovery’s defence let them down in the first half as tries from flanker Rhys Shellard, centre Geraint Walsh and scrum half Lloyd Williams were down to some hesitant tackling as much as home ambition.
Skipper and centre Matthew Jacobs answered but a 22-10 half time deficit let them a lot to do.
Yellow cards for both Ponty locks Jordan Sieniawaski and Craig Locke gave the Drovers hope but once they conceded a penalty try at a scrum the game went away from them.
Wing Aaron Warren finished an overlap to narrow the gap to 29-20 but a yellow card for lock Bryn Griffiths and two penalties from home fly half Dai Flanagan quashed any chance of a losing bonus point.