Pontypool Chase Premiership Play-Off Spot

The Indigo Premiership delivered plenty of drama at the weekend. Pic: WRU

Pontypool Chase Premiership Play-Off Spot

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By David Parsons

The play-offs are back within the sights of Pontypool after they defeated the side currently occupying fourth spot in the Indigo Premiership.

Pooler’s timely 20-13 triumph over Cardiff at Pontypool Park completed a notable league double for Leighton Jones’ men over the Blue and Blacks to close the gap and reignite their hopes of finishing in the top four.

Having started the season with a bang, winning seven of their opening eight games on their return to the Premiership, Pooler had only won twice in their last eight. They also suffered a points deduction that enabled Cardiff to leapfrog them.

But this result backs up their 16-9 win over Cardiff at the Arms Park at the end of October. It also certainly sets up an interesting run in, with Pooler, in fifth, now sitting nine points behind Cardiff – but with a game in hand.

Wing Dewi Cross put Cardiff ahead after six minutes with an unconverted try but the hosts responded. Matthew Jarvis sent over a penalty before captain Scott Matthews broke free at the back of a driving lineout and put scrum-half Morgan Lloyd in for a try which Jarvis converted.

They led 10-8 at the break with Harrison James kicking a penalty for the visitors to close the gap. Jarvis’ penalty on the hour extended Pooler’s lead before Peter Lloyd pounced on the ball to score after good work from winger Matthew Powell. Jarvis converted.

There was still time for Cross to get his second try and secure a losing bonus point for Cardiff.

Aberavon, meanwhile, are just a point behind Pooler in sixth having played the same number of games and aren’t out of contention either. Jason Hyatt’s side were victorious 23-17 against RGC at the Talbot Athletic Ground.

Scott Delnevo, Ben Gregory and Cameron Lewis scored for the Wizards with James Davies sending over a conversion and two penalties. Dafydd Williams and Dion Jones scored for RGC, with Sam Earl-Jones converting both tries and kicking a penalty.

Elsewhere, Ebbw Vale, in third, remain level on points with Newport after they won 36-13 at Bridgend, but the Steelmen have played two games more.

Scrum-half Jon Evans went over for a try in the first half for Ebbw, which Evan Lloyd also improved having earlier kicked a penalty – but they trailed at half time.

All of the Ravens’ points came in the first half and came courtesy of a Iestyn Merriman try, converted by Jamin Hodgkin – who also kicked two penalties.

Ebbw seized the lead just after half time when Lloyd’s chip through was collected by wing Ewan Bowden who did the rest, with Lloyd converting. Evans scored a third try for the Steelmen after 53 minutes, again converted by Lloyd, before they pulled away in the final quarter, with further tries scored by Harry Drane, converted by Lloyd, and Rhys Francis.

Champions Llandovery are now mathematically certain of a play-off spot after they won 47-10 at Neath to make it 14 consecutive bonus-point wins – with hooker Taylor Davies helping himself to four of their seven tries. The Drovers fell behind early on with Neath going ahead with a try through captain Ryan Evans, converted by Steff Williams.

But Davies hit straight back and he then scored twice further in the first half to complete his treble. Scrum-half Daf Land also went over in the first half as Llandovery took a 26-10 lead into the break. Williams kicked a penalty for the home side.

Davies grabbed his fourth after the re-start before Lee Rees and then Llyr Green also touched down. All three second half tries were converted by Jack Maynard, adding to his three first half conversions, to complete an 18th victory from 19 for the Drovers in the league this season.

Swansea won for the first time in 2024 and also recorded their first league win of the season at St Helen’s with a 12-7 defeat of Carmarthen Quins. The game was still scoreless at half time but Sam Matthews’ unconverted try broke the deadlock after the re-start.

The Quins hit back to lead through a Lewys Millin try converted by Harri Williams before Llien Morgan came off the bench to score a second Swansea try, converted by Rhys Jones, which ultimately proved to be decisive.

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