A cold wet night in Treorchy brought out the best that Pontypridd and Rhondda District had to offer. Both the Under 12s and U13s battled the weather and each other to put on a feast of rugby in defeating their Rhondda counterparts in both age groups.
UNDER 12s: Rhondda 5 10 Pontypridd
The under 12s started things off and proved that tonights rugby was going to be a war of attrition rather than a spectacle of running rugby.
Despite the weather conditions good pressure in defence from Pontypridd lead to turnovers that speedsters Jordan Rees (Pontypridd RFC) and James Davies (Beddau RFC) were quick to capitalise on. Jordan was unfortunately caught 5 meters from the line but James was able to beat the cover and cross for Pontypridd first of the night. Pontys lead was short lived as the Rhondda forward pack began to warm to the occasion and the scores were level within no time at all. Scrapping for every loose ball Pontys back-row shone in particular Conor Farrer (Rhydyfelin RFC) and Ieuan Evans (Pontypridd RFC).
With both teams making changes throughout the game it was difficult to pick out individual performances and it was the collective effort of Pontypridd which came to the fore. Trading disallowed scores it was Pontypridd who came out on top 2 tries to 1 with the clinching score coming from industrious hooker Sam Edwards (Pontypridd RFC). It was great to see the team performing so well and the delight was shown by forwards coach Ross Johnston (Cardiff Blues Academy) who got carried away seeing the boys first victory of the season. Great character was shown by the entire squad and this result will stand us in good stead for the next fixture against Heart of Wales on January 5th at Rhydyfelin RFC.
TRY scorers for Pontypridd: James Davies and Sam Edwards
TRY scorer for Rhondda tbc
UNDER 13s Rhondda 12 41 Pontypridd
With the youngsters having shown the way, it was now time for the Under 13s to take to the field in ever worsening conditions. The side built around a good team spirit were forced stick together as they entered the heart of the Rhondda Valley. Knowing fully what to expect from the Rhondda side it was vitally important that Pontypridd capitalised on any chances they were given. As the game started the Rhondda forward pack exerted more and more pressure on the Pontypridd line, but it did not look like cracking as resolute defence around the fringes was able to thwart the continuous surges from the Rhondda eight. Pontypridd were restricted to breakaway opportunities from turnovers, fortunately the Pontypridd side had the skill and handling ability to get the ball away and into the hands of danger men Luc Williams (Llantwit Fardre) and Rory Woodland (Pontyclun RFC). It was the latter who crossed for the first score squeezing over in the corner after a concerted bit of pressure.
The game continued in the same vein and Rhondda pressure finally told and the home side crossed for two scores. Rhonddas first try came from a charged down clearance kick by Pontypridd, with Alex Juice Jones (Gilfach Goch) intercepting and scoring a deserving try to even the scores. Bradley Watkins (Ystrad Rhondda) then scored a fine forwards try thanks to great maul work by his team-mates; Bobi Sheppard (Ystrad Rhondda) kicked the conversion to give Rhondda a half-time lead of 12-5.
In the second half Pontypridd began to dominate in the contact area and forced further turnovers that Pontypridd were able to capitalise on. Further scores were added from flyers Luc Williams, substitute Josh Pritchard and Rory Woodland who completed his hat trick. A special mention must go to returning players Declun Williams (Beddau RFC) and Conor Gay (Llantwit Fardre) who return after injury and illness. Conor capped off his return with two touchdowns in the second half. Conversions were added from Rhys Hughes (Llantwit Fardre), Lewis Montague (Llantrisant RFC) and Rory Woodland.
A final thank you must go to Treorchy RFC who did well to host the fixture and provide the players with much needed refreshments after the game. With confidence high the Pontypridd Under 13s will hope to face Caerphilly before Christmas and Heart of Wales in the New Year.
TRY scorers for Pontypridd: Rory Woodland (3), Luc Williams, Josh Pritchard and Conor Gay (2). Rory Woodland, Rhys Hughes and Lewis Montague kicked one conversion each.
TRY scorers for Rhondda: Alex Jones and Bradley Watkins. Bobi Sheppard kicked one conversion.