Blog Banner

Principality Premiership Round-Up: Merthyr and Cardiff remain neck-and-neck

Community | 2nd April 2019

Cardiff and Merthyr continued their fine form in the Principality Premiership over the weekend, as the mouth-watering title race looks to go down to the wire.

Cardiff 39 Bridgend Ravens 30

Cardiff kicked off the weekend's action by hosting Bridgend Ravens at Cardiff Arms Park in front of the BBC Scrum V cameras on Friday night.

The visitors were the quickest out of the starting blocks, however, as Owen Howe opened the scoring from the tee.

However, the Blue and Blacks responded with the first try of the evening, with Will Rees-Hole pouncing on a loose ball in the try zone, beating the dead-ball line to touch down.

Edd Howley added the extras, but relegation-threatened Ravens soon found themselves with a 10-point lead as Aaron Grabham and Gareth Harvey crossed for a quick-fire double.

However, with the Ravens looking for a third try before the break, they were sucker-punched by full back Howley, who ripped the ball from deep in his own half and weaved his way through the Bridgend defence and running the distance for a stunning individual score.

Howe added another penalty but Mathew Powell's acrobatic effort in the final play of the half cut the deficit to one-point, giving the Blue and Blacks the momentum heading into the break.

Cardiff took the lead in the opening stages of the second half with another Howley penalty, before outside half Dan Fish and Rees-Hole combined to release Joe Gatt for the bonus point score.

Grabham scored his second of the evening to level the scores at 27-27, but Cardiff's pack made sure the win was sealed, as Kirby Myhill touched down from the base of a driving line-out.

Ian Jenkins added a late score for the hosts, seeing Cardiff temporarily over-take Merthyr at the top of the table.

Cross Keys 28 Merthyr 53

Defending champions Merthyr were hungry to regain their place at the top of the table as they travelled to Pandy Park on Saturday.

The Ironmen got off to the perfect start as Jake Thomas crossed the whitewash, but Garin Price responded for the hosts, as Jacob Botica's conversion gave Keys a slender lead.

Merthyr soon found their groove, however, with Adam Thomas and Matthew Dwyer touching down for the visitors before Harry Davies touched down to put the bonus point in the bag.

Davies added his second try of the afternoon before the interval to give Dale McIntosh's side a 27-7 lead at half time.

Hooker Ellis Shipp went over for Keys' second try of the game, but Adam Hoskins and Sam Evans took the visitors' try-tally to seven.

Carwyn Penny's try gave Cross Keys hope of salvaging a bonus point, and despite Davies securing his hat-trick, Chris Johnsey's effort did ensure the hosts weren't leaving empty-handed.

A late try for James Howe saw the Ironmen clock past the half-century mark, and more significantly, regain their place on top of the table with a two point advantage over Cardiff.

Llandovery 48 Pontypridd 24

Pontypridd travelled to Church Bank looking to keep within touching distance with the leading pack, but were facing a Llandovery side who had won nine of their last 10 matches.

It took 10 minutes for Aaron Warren to put the hosts ahead, but Ponty replied as Cardiff Blues academy's Ben Jones split open the Drovers defence and fed half back partner, Joel Raikes, to bring the scores level.

Jack Maynard and Jones exchanged penalties before Justin Burnell's side took the lead for the first time on the half-hour mark.

Chris Dicomidis, found himself in space on the left hand side, and despite support from wing Alex Knott, the experienced lock cut past the covering defender to charge for the try-line from 40 meters out.

It seemed as if Ponty would be heading into the break in a promising position, but the visitors were sucker-punched as late tries from Ricky Guest and Kristian Jones gave Llandovert a 20-17 lead at half time.

Llandovery stretched their lead as Rhodri Jones and Warren crossed the whitewash within the opening 15 minutes of the second half.

With momentum firmly behind the hosts, a dominating scrum saw Llandovery clock past the 40-point mark thanks to a penalty try.

Pontypridd had hope of salvaging a bonus point, as Knott touched down in the latter stages, but the Drovers had the final say through wing Richard Williams.