Pontypridd kept alive their hopes of a domestic double with a 35 v 24 victory over Aberavon this evening in the SWALEC Cup Final.
In a stunning match, Pontypridd looked to have been clear midway through the second half with a twenty-point advantage but Aberavon struck back with two tries in quick succession to set up an exciting finale.
Ponty held out at the end though and were deserved winners and return to Sardis Road with their first piece of silverware this season.
They had started they game the brighter, Simon Humberstone kicking them ahead with a penalty after missing his first shot at goal.
Aberavon’s Matthew Jarvis then levelled things with a long-range strike but he failed to kick his side in front moment later, his second kick drifting wide of the right hand upright.
While it took Aberavon slightly longer to find their feet, once they did they caused Ponty problems out-wide and Richard Carter broke free for the game’s first try. The wing smashed through two tackles on his way to touching down, much to the delight of the Aberavon supporters.
For all their territory and possession, Pontypridd craved a try and scrum-half Lewis Jones duly obliged, stretching out for his side’s first score after a nifty break. Humberstone’s conversion levelled the scores and the fly-half then nudged his side ahead with a drop-goal minutes later.
A fantastic solo break from flanker Darren Waters then gave Pontypridd the advantage they deserved. The back-row handed off the first line of defence and rounded the full-back to touch down under the posts. Humberstone converted to give his side a 20 v 10 half-time lead.
Humberstone’s name was the first one the score-sheet in the second period as he added another penalty to his tally just after the break.
Pontypridd continued to pile on the pressure and their control began to stretch Aberavon.
Captain Chris Dicomidis and Gareth Wyatt combined to create space down the right flank and Jones was the beneficiary, sprinting in for his second try which Humberstone converted.
Ponty’s score galvanised Aberavon, who threw everything at their opponents during a dominant 15 minute spell. They repeatedly threatened the Pontypridd line and second-row Sam Williams finally touched down for the try they deserved after Ponty ran out of numbers out-wide.
Aberavon continued to starve Ponty of the ball and just minutes later Nathan Strong scored in the same spot as Williams to bring his side right back into the game. Jarvis converted to bring the scores to within six points.
Ponty though replied straight from the re-start, Ryan Savage benefiting from confusion in the Aberavon ranks to score in the corner.
This set-up a tense final ten minutes at the Millennium Stadium but Pontypridd held on to lift the Cup.
Aberavon: Tries: Carter, Williams, Strong Pens: Jarvis Cons: Jarvis (3)
Pontypridd: Tries: Jones (2), Waters, Savage Pens: Humberstone (2) Cons: Humberstone (3) DG: Humberstone