Cardiff

23 December, 2000

Cardiff Arms Park

Spectators: 7,557

Pontypridd
referee
Clayton Thomas
our man of the match
Nick Walne
scorers
Nick Walne (2)
Neil Jenkins (1)
Neil Jenkins (3)
our choice for next week

vs Newport

k.o. time: 3:15 pm

26 December, 2000

Rodney Parade

15
Gethin Rhys Williams
14
Nick Walne
13
Jamie Robinson
12
Pieter Muller
11
Craig Morgan
10
Neil Jenkins
9
Robert Howley
8
Emyr Lewis
7
Martyn Williams
6
Dan Baugh
5
John Tait
4
Steve Moore
3
Ken Fourie
2
Jon Humphreys
1
Andrew Lewis

Thirteen quid for a terrace ticket for what? Well you get to see the whole of the pitch, a scoreboard that you can see (when it works properly), floodlights that light up the whole pitch and clean toilets you can get to when the needs must. Yet the Ponty fans still turned up and boy did they make a noise.

Before the game started we were treated to a mock duel between Bruiser and a Ponty fan, this the Ponty fan won with a great tackle from behind, was this the sign of things to come?

As we now come to expect when ever we play our 'friends' from up the A470, Ponty came on to the field to a massive roar from their faithful and Cardiff to boos, as at Sardis Road earlier in the season. Many troop carriers headed down from the demilitarised zone as the annual outing to the city lights attracted even the youngest conscript.

If you were to look at the match statistics Cardiff 21(3 tries) Ponty 14 (1 try) you would think, yep another straight forward home W (as Jinks likes to call it) but nothing could be further from the truth.

In the not too distant past Cardiff had a forward platform the envy of the rest of Wales but now it is at best average. What has changed? Have the players become bad players overnight or is it down to coaching or the lack of it? I go with the latter. The scrum creaked to breaking point and as for the lineout, well what lineout?!!?

The game itself started well for Cardiff with plenty of possession but very little to show for it but that was until a great break from Jamie Robinson, who brushed off a weak tackle from John Bryant and fed Nick Walne to score in the corner. This the Ginger Monster converted 7-0. On many occasions wrong options were taken, schoolboy passing, dropped passes and a very well organized Ponty defence stopped Cardiff from increasing their lead. In between this, Mr Dot COM keeping Ponty in it with two penalties to make the score 7-6 at half time. We should have been another score ahead had not Steve Moore a la Gerald Cordle dropped a certain try scoring pass from the Bull. With so little going straight to him in the lineout he cannot be blamed - he was waiting for Emyr to call Riverdance.

This was as good as it got for Cardiff. Obviously after another riot act from the VC, Ponty took complete control of the second period and deservedly went ahead through a great team try. After a break from Sonny Lister (all together now) quick ball was won, Lenny Woodard crawled forward and finally the ball was worked to the wing via Michael Owen, Brett Davey and Sidoli for the very quick Wyatt to score in the corner but the conversion was missed by Davey. Later, he made amends with a penalty to make the score 14-7 to a side now on top.

Despite all their possession Ponty could not add to the score thanks to the odd dropped pass and as ever a great defensive display from the home side.

With only minutes remaining and defeat looking the likely outcome, Cardiff summoned up one last effort (or was it?). With Volye taking a clean lineout ball(hooray), the ball was moved to Muller who as ever made the ball available, out it came from Howley to Jinks (once a Ponty lad as we kept getting reminded every 5 minutes) who managed to sneak over for a try and Cardiff had played their get out of jail card and a draw looked likely.

But Cardiff had one last attack up their sleeve after an attempted drop goal by Jinks went wide the game seemed over. From a bad drop out that went straight into touch, scrum ball was won and the ball worked to Jinks, who this time was not set for the drop goal but instead he put in a wonderful grubber kick ahead for the excellent Nick Walne to gather and ground. But just to add insult to injury Jinks converted to make the final score 21-14.

The Ponty fans could not believe it and in truth neither could most of the Cardiff fans, the very least they deserved was a draw.

The irony in their abuse of their old players was hilarous. Their behaviour towards Jenkins and Williams shows all that is wrong with Wales - why criticise those who want to improve themselves? They now earn more at Cardiff and have actually won something and have a chance of winning again. How nice it was to see Williams' response after the winning try - all together now, "You're not singing any more!!!!!"

Yet again as with the last few games Cardiff are collectively a shambles but with a few excellent individuals a game that we should have lost we somehow won. What will happen if our lineout returns and we put our game together? God only knows, but on this performance and with all our nine lives gone, Newport will take us apart.

Merry Christmas to you all and see you on Boxing Day.

Thanks to Steve Brown for his match report.

15
Gareth Thomas
7
/10
Some excellent breaks from Alfie but he is not the player he was. Other things on his mind? Definitely not a full back.
14
Nick Walne
9
/10
Unrecognisable from the player who played for us last season. Tackles like his life depends on it and now one of the very best finishers in Wales. Must surely be in with a chance for Feb 3rd, especially when Brian Price praises a Cardiff player.
13
Jamie Robinson
7
/10
A couple of nice breaks especially for Nick's first try and some wonderful tackles but did miss a couple.
12
Pieter Muller
7
/10
Never dies with the ball, always off loads in the tackle.
11
Craig Morgan
7
/10
Did he get a pass in space all game? Needed to use him more.
10
Neil Jenkins
7
/10
7 - Just for that try - Kicked badly out of hand, as he has most of the season. But he won the game at the finish with an excellent grubber for the winning try.
9
Robert Howley
6
/10
Yet another poor game from Rob several wrong options and slow ball. I hear Gareth Cooper had a blinder for Bath.
8
Emyr Lewis
7
/10
Another one who made some good ground with the ball. Must be due to get injured soon.
7
Martyn Williams
7
/10
Another Ponty boy who played well. Not scared to dive on the loose ball knowing that he would surely get a good kicking.
6
Greg Kacala
7
/10
Made a number of good runs with ball in hand, but surely his last season. Run out of steam and was replaced by Dan.
5
Mike Voyle
3
/10
Did win that one lineout ball though.
4
Steve Moore
5
/10
A dropped pass that even Gerald Cordle would have held onto.
3
Ken Fourie
5
/10
Not in as much trouble as Rita but still outplayed.
2
Jon Humphreys
6
/10
Will tackle all day long and made some useful yards with ball in hand, but oh the lineout - what is going on? It makes no difference who throws it in we still lose it. Back to the basics please, throw, lift and catch it. It is as easy as that, as Ponty proved all game. Mind you they do have the excellent Sidoli.
1
Peter Rogers
2
/10
Completely outplayed by who ever Ponty had opposite him and we have Newport next, oh dear!! Replaced by Andrew who moved from replacement hooker to replacement prop in the space of 10 minutes.