2009/2010 Principality Premiership
Pontypridd 20 v 21 Cardiff
12 December 2009 - Sardis Road, Pontypridd

Match Report

Pontypridd 20 Cardiff 21

This is becoming a habit. Three weeks after taking Pontypridd's 'ground record', of sorts, in the re-located fixture at the Arms Park, Cardiff claimed the real McKoy, as it were, at Sardis Road.

In a dramatic encounter worthy of the history of this local derby over the years, Lee Jarvis snatched victory for his side two minutes from the end when he popped up to take an inside pass from James Loxton to flop over under a pile of bodies near the left corner flag. But that still left the Blue & Blacks one point in arrears. Cue the old maestro and a marvellous match-winning conversion from the edge of touch.

A match that had started with a punch-up at the first scrum and a yellow card for prop Ian George - a classic case of mistaken identity, though the culprit was undeniably in blue and black – and continued 12 minutes later with the sending off of home centre Gavin Dacey for what appeared to be dangerous use of the boot, was never short of old fashioned blood and thunder. Referee Simon Harris deserves credit for his decisive action both after that early scrum and then the red card which left no one in any doubt that the object was to play rugby rather than rekindle tiresome old animosities, however tribal.

Yet there was also an unreal feel to the occasion. Quite who decided it was a good idea to retain the traditional 2.30pm kick-off when the region's European representatives were playing the crème de la crème of French rugby a dozen miles down the A470, needs to be reminded that several coaches and players of both clubs are sustained by the Blues' academy. Seven seasons into regional rugby the learning curve remains uniquely flat. Meanwhile, the crowd on this occasion was the smallest for such a fixture and remarkably quiet.... red faces all around.

Despite George's yellow card, Cardiff took the lead thanks to a Chris Anderson penalty goal. What's more, during the prop's ten minutes in the bin there were no scrums and therefore no need to bring on a replacment at the expense of a back-rower – more red faces on the home front.

Though Dean Gunter equalised with the first of what was to be five penalty goals, Cardiff regained the lead when Veater and man of the match Slater worked the front of a lineout and the ever alert Rhys Shellard crossed near the right corner. But by half-time the Blue & Blacks trailed 9-8 after two more Gunter strikes, nosed in front with another Anderson penalty, only to be overtaken again by another brace from Gunter.

On came Jarvis to promptly miss with what seemed a run of the mill goal from 25 metres – high, wide and handsome and met by ironic cheers. The last laugh was to be his. Five minutes later he succeeded with a similar effort (14-15) but when replacement lock Darren Waters was driven over for a home try in the 71st minute, 14-man Ponty seemed set for a famous victory.

Not so. At last Cardiff's stuttering back-line found some fluidity. Quick lineout ball on the 10-metre line, pin-point passing from Jarvis and a clean break by Owen Williams sent Loxton half-clear and his inside pass was gobbled up by the fly-half for the try. The conversion had a certain inevitability.

Official : Simon Harris (Wales)

Pontypridd Cardiff