NEATH nil PONTYPRIDD 45
Another brave performance by Neath could not mask the superiority of a Pontypridd team riding high in second place in the table and galvanised by the revelation of financial troubles at Sardis Road.
The Neath team showed bags of courage and might have improved the scoreline but were well beaten by the buoyant visitors who levied tries through winger Alex Webber (2), hooker Rob Jones, Blues full back Ben Jones, lock Shay Smallman, flanker Rhys Shellard and No.8 Alun Lawrence, former Wales outside-half Ceri Sweeney (4) and replacement Diggy Bird adding conversions.
Keiren Williams returned to good effect at centre before being replaced at half-time when it was nil-24 while No.8 Guido Volpi made an impressive debut at No.8 while scrum-half Nicky Griffiths collected the Supporters’ Club Man of the Match award.
NEATH – Aaron Bramwell (captain); Richard Carter, Jarrad Rees, Keiran Williams (Jordan Rees), Alec Jenkins, Callum Hall, Nicky Griffiths (Nathan Griffiths); Gareth Wyn Lloyd (Ben Uphill), Sion Crocker (Connah Vaughan), Tyla Murvai (Kieran Griffiths); Scott Davies (Ioan Jones), Rhys Morgan; Lee Evans (Leon Ward), Guido Volpi, Alun Jones (Joe Grabham)
Referee – Mr. Simon Mills (New Dock Stars)
Young Ospreys No.8 Guido Volpi makes his debut for Neath when they take on Pontypridd at The Gnoll on Friday evening (kick off 7.30pm).
The Argentinian forward, previously with Narbonne, steps up for Neath’s first game since their change of ownership and he is joined in the starting line-up by centre Keiran Williams while Joe Grabham re-appears on the bench.
With James Roberts still on the injured list, an S.O.S. has gone out to Richard Carter, the former Neath and Aberavon wing who now coaches at Resolven, while prop Gareth Wyn Lloyd, a try-scoring replacement against Swansea, starts for the first time.
Neath v Pontypridd (Home)
15 Aaron Bramwell (captain); 14 Richard Carter, 13 Jarrad Rees, 12 Keiran Williams, 11 Alec Jenkins, 10 Callum Hall, 9 Nicky Griffiths, 1 Gareth Wyn Lloyd, 2 Sion Crocker, 3 Tyla Murvai; 4 Scott Davies, 5 Rhys Morgan; 6 Lee Evans, 8 Guido Volpi, 7 Alun Jones
Replacements – 16 Connah Vaughan, 17 Ben Uphill, 18 Keiran Griffiths, 19 Ioan Jones, 20 Leon Ward, 21 Joe Grabham, 22 Nathan Griffiths, 23 Jordan Rees