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Ponty Hold Leeds To Go Through

Ponty Hold Leeds To Go Through

Brett Davey was once again the Pontypridd hero as he scored all the points for the Welsh side in a 19-19 draw with Leeds Tykes at Headingley Stadium.

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The result sees Pontypridd qualify for the quarter-finals of THE PARKER PEN CHALLENGE CUP thanks to their 37-23 victory at Sardis Road last weekend.

But the early signs were that it would be Leeds who would haul back the thirteen point first-leg deficit.

Two early penalty goals from Leeds South African outside-half Braam Van Straaten gave the home side a 6-0 advantage to settle early nerves.

And Pontypridd were caught napping when scrum half Alan Dickens picked the ball up from a ruck, dummied a pass inside, shrugged off two challenges and raced 40m for the opening try after eight minutes, which was improved by Van Straaten to give his side a 13-0 advantage.

But this try served as the rallying cry, and soon the Pontypridd forwards were beginning to take control, are they were rewarded when Brett Davey’s first penalty goal cut the difference to 10 points.

Davey added his second penalty goal from 35 metres after 23 minutes, and a third from Davey just five minutes later from 40 metres, saw the Pontypridd resurgence gaining momentum

Pontypridd were back on terms up front – making crucial tackles and winning turnover ball, and Ceri Sweeney was on form with consistent kicking from hand keeping Leeds pegged back inside their own half.

But Van Straaten’s third penalty goal after 37 minutes was the final points scoring action of the first half, and gave the home side a 16-9 advantage at the break.

And Van Stratten reopened the scoring in the second period after 55 minutes with his fourth penalty goal.

The second half was a battle of technique v brawn in the forwards – and it was the Valley Commandoes who were winning the contest.

Leeds hooker Mathew holt saw yellow after bringing the scrum down after 57 minutes, giving Davey a chance to get this fourth penalty of the night, but it fell short.

And then Van Stratten, who in the first period could do no wrong, was guilty of missing two crucial penalties in the second period that intimately cost the English side their place in the competition.

The frustration could be felt all around the ground.

But Ponty are not just about power forward play, and nearly opened their try scoring account with a slick move through the backs, were it not Brett Davey forward pass Emyr Lewis would have been in in the corner.

Moments later Davey followed up his own up-and-under deep into the Leeds 22, and when the home defence couldn’t catch the bouncing ball, Davey pounced and scored a try he converted himself.

And when added a fourth penalty goal four minutes later, Ponty had hauled themselves back into the game at 19-19.

Late pressure form Leeds proved fruitless, and it is last year’s PARKER PEN SHIELD finalists who progress to the final eight.

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