This was a fine team performance – the Newport pack was magnificent - but still the Black & Ambers were desperately unlucky to come away from Sardis Rd with nothing. Few would have argued that they deserved to come away with the win. Newport led 24-18 up to 76 mins but three incidents cost them the match. At a scrum just inside Newport half the Pontypridd pack were shunted back yards with their front row standing up. Referee James Jones reset the scrum and then penalised Newport ! Ponty kicked the ball dead from the penalty and then Tom Hancock’s drop out was charged down. Ponty worked the ball out to the far wing for Nuthall to score and Flanagan to convert to make score 25-24 on 78 mins. On 83 mins Newport lost the ball after a scrum near their line and Godfrey scored. Flanagan converted and Pontypridd had got out of jail.
Newport became the latest side to succumb to Premiership leaders Pontypridd at Sardis Road, writes Tony Poole. But the Black and Ambers, who took the reverse fixture 20-19 back in October, remain the only side to lower Ponty colours this term in the league. It was, however, asking a lot of Newport to complete the double, especially as Neath were the last side to triumph at the ground – and that was 14 games and 11 months ago. But they pieced together a fine team performance, and deservedly led 24-18 late on. A late Ponty rally, however, ensured that they didn’t even earn a deserved bonus point.
After Newport fly-half Tom Hancock missed an early penalty chance, Ponty capitalised with captain Chris Dicomidis claiming a corner try that went unconverted. Seven minutes later Hancock slotted over an easier penalty but Ponty forged further ahead on 22 minutes when flanker Wayne O’Connor touched down close to the posts. Fly-half Dai Flanagan converted and landed a penalty, but Newport responded in the 27th minute via another Hancock penalty. Better followed for the Black and Ambers in the 38th minute when centre Dan Robinson glided over for a superb solo try that fly-half Hancock improved. That reduced the half-time deficit to 15-13 and six minutes into the second half a third Hancock penalty took them ahead. He then failed to hit the target with a 48th-minute effort, but they continued to press and rocked the House of Pain in the 55th minute. A rumble among the forwards led to scrum-half Rhys Downes claiming an unconverted try against his former club, making it 21-15. Hancock and Flanagan traded penalties around the hour-mark, as Ponty continued to make uncharacteristic errors. But approaching time they got their act together with wing Matthew Nuthall and No 8 Dan Godfrey both crossing for tries that Flanagan converted.
Pontypridd scorers: Tries: C Dicomidis, W O’ Connor, M Nuthall, D Godfrey; Cons: D Flanagan (3); Pens: D Flanagan (2)
Newport scorers: Tries: D Robinson, R Downes; Con: T Hancock; Pens: T Hancock (4)