What the Papers Say - Huw S Thomas reports:
Pontypridd's win clinched top spot in the Principality Premiership but they had to withstand a firm and confident challenge from Llandovery. They trailed 14-11 at the break in front of the biggest Church Bank crowd of the season but lifted their game in the last quarter to run out deserved winners, even if the score very much flattered them at the end.
Home and away fans were at one in criticising the WRU demand that first-placed Ponty now have to go and beat either Neath or Llanelli in the play-offs to be crowned champions. The unanimous view at Church Bank was that 26 games was more than enough to decide the championship and that the extra play-off game between the top of the table and the winner of the second v third teams were superfluous to needs.
The Drovers made light of an exhausting programme of six games in 17 days and their performance will boost their chances of a Super 10 place in next year’s Premiership.
Ponty were soon 5-0 up with a corner try from wing Chris Clayton but Llandovery proved tough opponents and went ahead 7-5 with a try from Bonymaen permit centre Paul Davies, converted by fly-half Cerith Rees.
Centre Dafydd Lockyer was a real threat for Ponty and his good work gave fly-half Dean Gunter an easy penalty but the quick service of home scrum-half Lee Rees gave those outside him that extra bit of space and time to seriously threaten the Ponty defence.
Great approach work from outstanding flanker Lloyd Phillips made a converted try for quickly improving No 8 Kieran Murphy to give the Drovers a deserved 14-8 lead.
Play was hectic, with both sides committed to all-out attack, and it was Ponty who crucially got the next score on the stroke of half time, when Gunter kicked an angled 30 metre penalty to make it 14-11. Gunter and Rees swapped penalties before a driving maul from a lineout got a try for prop Ryan Harford in what was turning out to be a great game of rugby which enthralled a crowd of just under 1100.
A yellow card for Llandovery replacement Matthew Harbut proved decisive, with Harford driven over again from a lineout for his second try, converted by Gunter. With Llandovery out on their legs, Ponty got the bonus point with an interception try by replacement Cory Hill, converted by Gunter and the celebrations began for the travelling band of some 500 Ponty supporters