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Saturday, 7 September, 2002, 18:32 GMT 19:32 UK
Pontypridd riding high
Pontypridd scrum-half Paul John is hauled back by Hal Luscombe of Newport
Pontypridd scrum-half Paul John is hauled back
Celtic League - Pool B
Pontypridd 21-16 Newport

Pontypridd overcame a strong Newport challenge to get their Celtic League hopes back on track with a battling Pool B victory at Sardis Road on Saturday.

Having lost a hard-fought encounter in Dublin last week to holders Leinster. Pontypridd got their first points on the board against Newport, with Richard Parks pulling the strings in a man-of-the-match performance.

  Scoring details:
Pontypridd (11) 21:
Tries: Bryant, Sweeney.
Con: Davey.
Pens: Davey 3.
Newport (13) 16:
Try: Palmer.
Con: Strange.
Pens: Strange 2.
DG: Strange.
Att: 5,800

The home side opened their account in the third minute with a Brett Davey penalty after a lineout offence on the Newport 22.

Pontypridd moved further ahead in the ninth minute when Newport were caught offside for Davey to kick another penalty.

The home side increased their lead immediately afterwards when Gareth Wyatt kicked from his own 22 and Newport full-back Shane Howarth blundered by letting the ball bounce.

Ponty centre John Bryant gathered the loose ball and put Ceri Sweeney over in the corner.

In the 23rd minute Newport were awarded a penalty on the 22 for handling in the ruck and Jason Strange reduced the deficit.

Newport began to seize the momentum and Howarth kicked to the corner for right wing Nathan Palmer to cross out wide, Strange converting from the touchline to bring Newport back to within a point at 11-10.

The comeback was completed when Newport outside-half Strange dropped a goal to put the visitors into a 13-11 lead at half-time.

However, Pontypridd came storming back after the break and regained the lead when Bryant crashed over under the posts for Davey to convert.

Newports Adrian Garvey is stopped by Robert Sidoli
Newport found it difficult to break through

With half an hour remaining the Black and Ambers were awarded a penalty for an offence at the ruck and Strange kicked the goal to bring Newport back to within two points.

The visitors, beaten at home by Bridgend last week, hammered away at Pontypridd in a desperate attempt to take the lead but their overeagerness cost them dearly.

Several promising positions were wasted as Newport began to force their passes, with spilled ball the only result.

Then the visitors were caught not releasing and Davey stepped up to strike the penalty and move Pontypridd into a five-point lead they were never to relinquish.

Newport at least earned a bonus point for only losing by five points, but in truth it will be small consolation.


Pontypridd: Davey; Wyatt, Parker, Bryant, Nuttall; Sweeney, John; G Jenkins, Davies, Bell, Cockbain, Sidoli, Owen, Parks, G. Lewis.
Reps: M. Rees, Baber, Hennessey, N Jenkins, McIntosh, Kelly, J. Lewis.

Newport: S Howarth; Palmer, H Luscombe, A Marinos, A Wagstaff; J Strange, D Burn; C Jones, J Richards, A Garvey, S Raiwalui (capt), M Voyle, S Ojomoh, A Powell, J Forster.
Reps: M Pini, S Williams, O Tonu'u, C Anthony, P Young, M Veater, G Gravell.

Referee: Chris White (England).


The final

SEASON STATS

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TALKING RUGBY
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