New Zealand prop Craig Dowd gave London Wasps a handy 15-point cushion in the first leg of the PARKER PEN CHALLENGE CUP semi-final against Pontypridd...
Dowd scored two tries in the comfortable victory, but Pontypridd displayed enough courage and talent to give the Londoners a fright and Brett Davey's goal-kicking has given them an outside chance of glory in the return match at Sardis Road in a fortnight.
The Welsh club's cause wasn't helped when Irish referee Alain Rolland awarded a dubious penalty try and sent Pontypridd scrum-half Gareth Baber to the sin-bin for taking out opposite number Rob Howley in a race for the ball.
A superb solo try to Pontypridd fly-half Ceri Sweeney gave the visiting fans plenty to cheer about, but some quality kicking from Alex King kept Wasps in front.
A late try to burly winger John Rudd extended Wasps' margin and made Pontypridd's task in the second leg all the harder.
"Lynn Howells Pontypridd coach Lynn Howells was upbeat despite the defeat.
"Its not dead in the water," he said
"It will certainly be a different game at Sardis Road and the players are not down - it is only half-time.
"It will be very difficult to come back from 15-points down against such a strong team, but nothing is impossible.
And Wasps coach, Warren Gatland has this assessment of his side's chances in the return trip.
"I don't know if 15 points is going to be enough, but we are really looking forward to the return, it is going to be pretty intense down there.
"Mentally we will be up for it and we should have a few key players back from injury for the second leg."
Wasps:Tries: Dowd 2, Penalty, Rudd. Cons: King 4. Pens: King 2.
Pontypridd: Try: Sweeney. Con: Davey. Pens: Davey