Cardiff stayed top of the Indigo Group Premiership Cup’s Eastern Pool with a comfortable bonus point win over Pontypridd at the Arms Park on Friday night.
A number of injuries and unavailability from the semi-professional squad saw first team members Scott Andrews, Sam Moore, Max Llewellyn and Aled Summerhill drafted into the starting XV, while Efan Daniel and Ethan Lloyd got nods to slot in at hooker and scrum-half respectively.
Perhaps due to the changes it was a slow start from the Blue and Blacks as smart offloads from Moore and Llewellyn were not capitalised on, while an offside in midfield allowed Ben Burnell to open the scoring for Pontypridd off the kicking tee.
However, that seemed to spark Cardiff into life as a long attacking set finished with a no-arms tackle that allowed Jacob Beetham to level the scores, before away winger Dale Stuckey was shown a yellow card for a deliberate knock on.
The Rags capitalised on the man advantage quickly as another multi-phase attack ended with Dan Fish wriggling his way over from close range, and then his kick through was not dealt with by Pontypridd full-back Lloyd Rowlands allowing Aled Summerhill to pounce and score. Beetham converted both for a 17-3 half-time lead.
Cardiff started the second half quicker than the first and a Fish 50/22 gave the Blue and Blacks field position to play from. Sam Moore carried hard and was brought down just short before the ball was spun wide for Summerhill to score an unconverted second.
Pontypridd battled hard as the game threatened to get away from them, and produced an excellent score as Burnell spotted space on the blindside and drifted across with Stuckey running a lovely line off his shoulder to break the defence and go over.
When a strong away driving maul saw referee Ian Davies heading under the posts for a penalty try and Theo Bevacqua sent to the sin bin it seemed an unlikely comeback might be on, but Fish stepped up with a tactical kicking masterclass that eventually got us field position for Harri Millard to produce a killer step and score.
Beetham converted to make the score 29-15 and that’s how it stayed despite a late Rory Harries yellow card for a deliberate knock on as Cardiff made it two bonus point wins in a week to maintain top spot, two points ahead of Newport in second as we head into the final game of the first batch of fixtures away at Merthyr next Saturday.