Image Alt

Neath RFC

Neath came down to earth with a bump – after two fine home wins over Aberavon and Merthyr, the Blacks were completely outplayed by a Pontypridd side intent on righting the wrongs of an agonising 11-12 loss at champions Llandovery the previous week.

Pontypridd opened the scoring after three minutes when a couple of kicks eluded Neath defenders, hesitant on the artificial surface, and flanker Sion Parry sent scrum half Harvey Nash over for the first try.

Neath contributed some attacking play but they were their own worst enemies as they botched two line-outs metres out from the Pontypridd line. At the other end, Pontypridd showed no such inefficiencies as both Canada international Parry and wing Liam Lloyd crossed, full back Josh Phillips converting the first.

Neath hit back with a penalty by Steff Williams when Pontypridd were caught offside and it was 3-17 on the half hour. But, as half-time neared, it was all over as Pontypridd effectively sealed the game with two tries by flanker Cally James which Phillips converted and then one by impressive centre Ben Burnell.

Half-time – Pontypridd 29 points Neath 3 points

On the resumption, Pontypridd were soon at it again when Burnell created the space for co-centre Garyn Smith to cross, Phillips converting. Neath, much on the defensive, prevented Pontypridd from adding to their score until the hour mark when replacement No.8 Joe Miles barged over from a scrum and Phillips added the points.

It was all Pontypridd and captain Kristian Parker went over for their eighth try with five minutes remaining. Neath gamely tried to play and, running the ball from deep in their own 22, centres Kieran Charles and Sean Wilcox combined well and the latter crossed near the posts for what was a consolation try and replacement outside-half Kristian Jones  converted.

What went wrong ? It is too easy to blame this sub-standard performance on the two hard-fought games before it although Neath looked a shadow of themselves and were never at the races.

Too many tackles were missed and Neath’s play generally lacked accuracy whereas Pontypridd were good – very good – on the day. Referee Mr. Simon Mills had another top-notch game so there are no excuses there.

Neath could take little comfort although ever-dependable full back Lewis Evans once again caught everything that was thrown at him and the replacements added some zest in the second-half when it was much-needed as the result was long gone.

Certainly no blame can be attached to lively 18 year old scrum-half Ellis Lewis of Seven Sisters who did well on debut in adversity and planted one impressive relieving touch-kick from his own line, prop Mason Morgan had a couple of good charges too and Neath’s try was arguably the best of the day.

But it was small solace as Pontypridd were much the dominant side. Pride comes before a fall they say – and Neath, after this fall, simply must regain their pride.

Next week, the Blacks are at home to Cardiff – another side well capable of cutting loose if the Blacks are not on their game. Kick off is at 2.30pm  and the Blacks, backed by their home support, must raise their game to previous levels to compete.


Pontypridd – J.Phillips; L.Lloyd  (L.Rochefort-Shugar), G.Smith, B,Burnell, D.Stuckey; J.Scrivens (K.Lewis), H.Nash (J.Raikes); T.Devine (B.Stephens), C.Greenslade (G.Parry), T.Harper (M.Bosanko); M.Cook, C.Dicomidis (J.Miles); Cally James (Cai James), K.Parker (capt), S.Parry

NEATH – L.Evans; L.Hawkes, R.Evans (capt) (K.Charles), S.Wilcox, R.Griffiths; S.Williams (K.Jones), G.Williams (E.Lewis); J.Powell (M.Morgan), S.Crocker (C.Morris), T.Ryan (G.W.Lloyd); M.Davies, C.Arnold; J.Blackmore, M.Kneath (E.Hopkins), F.Kneath (D.Ceredig)

Referee – Mr. S.Mills (Llanelli)