Merthyr Take Ironmen Grip On Principality Premiership Title

Merthyr are two wins away from claiming back-to-back Principality Premiership titles and claiming the league and cup double this season.

The Ironmen went north to RGC 1404 last weekend and picked off a 20-13 win in Colwyn Bay to stay four points clear of Pontypridd at the top of the table with a game in hand.

They have 57 points with three games to play and only need to reach 64 points to take the title.

Coach Dale McIntosh will take his men to Ebbw Vale on Wednesday night and then have a trip to Bargoed at the weekend. They need seven points from their remaining three games to guarantee keeping the title at The Wern for another season.

Front row men Nathan Trevett and Rhys Williams came up with the vital tries in a 20-13 win at Parc Eirias and Matthew Jarvis chipped in with two conversions and a penalty in each half. The Gogs were highly competitive throughout, briefly led 13-10 and were only 17-13 adrift at the break.

Merthyr were only able to add a single Jarvis penalty to their score in the second half, but it was enough to take the points and stay on course for a league and cup double following their big win over Newport at the Principality Stadium in the WRU National Cup final.

Carmarthen Quins’ title chances were dealt a bitter blow at Llandovery where they were beaten 31-24. Jac Wilson, Ifan Beynon-Thomas and skipper Haydn Pugh scored tries for the Quins and Aled Thomas converted all three and kicked a penalty.

But the Drovers, who can get to 63 points if they win their remaining three games, hit back from a 17-3 deficit to lead 24-17 despite losing Lee Rees to a yellow card. Jack Maynard was once again the major catalyst. He scored one of his side’s four tries and ended the game with a haul of 16 points.

Llandovery head to Bargoed on 8 May and then travel to Swansea on Saturday. They finish their campaign at home on 19 May against Llanelli.

Pontypridd ensured they remain poised should Merthyr slip-up in the final run-in thanks to an 18-8 home win over Cardiff to complete the treble over their big city neighbours.

It was one try apiece at half-time at Sardis Road before Geraint Walsh raced over for a second home try and Jordan Rees added the extras to go with his two second half penalties to clinch the result.

The gap between first and second is only four points, but table-topping Merthyr have a game in hand.

Ponty also face two tricky trips to Gwent this week with a trip to Newport on Tuesday night being followed by a weekend date at Pandy Park to face Cross Keys.

Those two teams met at Rodney Parade last weekend and Cross Keys got back to winning ways with a convincing 35-19 triumph that ended a run of successive defeats to Bedwas and Bridgend.

Keys plundered five tries, including two in the opening six minutes from Foard Cooksley and Scott Matthews, and James Leadbetter added all five conversions.

Bargoed ran in five tries at the Brewery Field, but still found themselves on the wrong end of a 68-35 defeat. The Ravens doubled that try count with 10 of their own, with Mike Powell and Aaron Grabham both getting a brace.

Bargoed now have to pick themselves up quickly because they host Llandovery on Tuesday night and Merthyr on Saturday. Bridgend, meanwhile, head to Aberavon at the weekend.

Principality Premiership Fixtures

Tuesday, 8 May
Bargoed v Llandovery
Cross Keys v Llanelli
Newport v Pontypridd

Wednesday, 9 May
Ebbw Vale v Merthyr

Saturday, 12 May
Aberavon v Bridgend
Bargoed v Merthyr
Cardiff v Ebbw Vale
Carmarthen Quins v Neath
Cross Keys v Pontypridd
Llanelli v Bedwas
RGC 1404 v Newport
Swansea v Llandovery

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