Chris Dicomidis and Dafydd Lockyer of Pontypridd lift the SWALEC Cup
Pontypridd are now just one game away from their first ever league and cup double following today's SWALEC Cup final win over Neath.
The Sardis Road club had struggled to impose themselves on a brave Neath outfit but they did enough in the second half to secure a 34-13 win.
A brace of tries from right wing Chris Clayton proved to be the difference with fly half Dai Flanagan kicking 14 points.
The first half had been a keenly contested affair with Neath 13-9 ahead at the break courtesy of a try from Dafydd Howells and eight points from the boot of Dai Langdon.
Flanagan had kicked Pontypridd's points but Neath failed to score a point after half time as Pontypridd finally woke up.
And after Clayton had added his second, a late score from Darran Harris and a penalty and conversion from Simon Humberstone sealed the win.
There remained a feeling though, that the final score line was perhaps a little harsh on Neath.
If Pontypridd went into the game as heavy favourites, Neath more than held their own in the first quarter. Flanagan may have put an early penalty effort wide but it was Neath who drew first blood, Langdon stepping up to nail a penalty when Pontypridd were penalised for not rolling away at a ruck.
The lead didn't last long though, Flanagan soon replying with his first kick of the day.
Clayton was then tackled into touch with the line in sight and when Luc Jones saw his clearance kick from the resulting line-out charged down, Flanagan kicked the resulting penalty for a 6-3 lead.
Langdon soon replied for Neath with a low drop goal from 40 metres and while Flanagan's third penalty was a brief respite for Pontypridd, the second half ended on a high for Neath, seeing lock Euros Evans yellow carded.
It was Howells who provided the score, the Wales squad member showing just why he has shot to the attentions of Robin McBryde and Shaun Edwards with a superb finish. Picking up possession, there was still plenty for the 18-year-old to do but he rounded Geraint Walsh with ease to score in the corner. Langdon converted and at the break, Neath held a deserved lead.
A chance to extend that cushion arrived at the start of the second period but Langdon, whose left boot was keeping Pontypridd at bay, pushed his effort wide. After a first half which would have disappointed Dale McIntosh, Pontypridd were now stepping things up, Lloyd Williams on at scrum half in place of Gareth James.
A Flanagan cross kick nearly created a score for Clayton as the Pontypridd forwards started to control the contact area.
And after going close on two previous occasions, it was third time lucky for Clayton. Flanagan spread the ball right and a superb pass from Walsh cut out Howells for the right winger to finish in the corner.
The conversion was missed but Pontypridd had regained the lead, albeit by a single point. Despite being back in front, McIntosh looked far from happy, especially with his side's penalty count. And another disciplinary lapse gave Langdon a shot at goal. Luckily for McIntosh's side, Langdon was again awry, his kick sliding wide via an upright.
With six points slipping by, Neath were made to regret those misses as Clayton then added his second try following superb work from skipper Chris Dicomidis. The lock, who was playing in his fourth final, held off two tacklers and offloaded to Clayton to leave the winger with an easy finish.
Flanagan kicked the conversion and added a fourth penalty and despite being far from their best, Pontypridd led 24-13.
And although each side saw a player yellow carded late on, replacements Humberstone and Harris sealed the win as Pontypridd stayed on course for a historic double.
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