A host of Leeds Carnegie’s young hopefuls showed they have the potential to lead the club into a bright future on a gloomy day in South Wales despite defeat to the Welsh Premiership champions.
Head coach Diccon Edwards had given full debuts to University of Leeds students Alex Lozowski and Pierce Phillips, while James Tyson came off the bench for his debut.
“It is frustrating that we have lost again in this competition but I was really pleased for a number of our younger players,” said Edwards. “Coming to Wales with an intimidating crowd and a Welsh set of officials is a big test and they kept their focus.
“We were caught out for three of their tries through inexperience, but that is what these games are all about.”
The failure to appoint a neutral referee seemed an opportunity missed and Wayne Davies struggled to keep the lid on a physical encounter. Eventually a large sprawling fight erupted that resulted in Ben Hooper and Wayne O’Connor being sent off for each team.
Leeds fell behind when hooker Huw Dowden powered his way over, before winger Owen Williams then doubled the home side’s advantage.
The visitors were caught flat- footed early on but they grew into their task after that and had the lion’s share of the game in the 20 minutes either side of half-time. Christian Georgiou had got them off the mark with a penalty and Leeds should have scored a try on the stroke of half-time only for Rob Baldwin to lose the ball in the wet conditions.
Leeds did get their reward when Curtis Wilson crossed out wide and the game was back in the balance at 13-8. However, the home finished strongly in the last 10 minutes with two tries from winger Chris Clayton.
Leeds return to action in the Championship next week with a trip to Jersey and Edwards has said that his young charges may have done enough to press their claims for promotion and a permanent place in the first-team squad.
Pontypridd: Wyatt, Clayton, Dacey (A Thomas, 33), Lockyer, O Williams, Flanagan, C Thomas, Roberts (Phillips, 62), Dowden (Harris, 60), Thyer (Jenkins, 62), Hill (Locke, 72), Dicomidis, Siggery, O’Connor, Godfrey (Sheppeard, 72) Replacement not used: L Williams
Leeds Carnegie: Lozowski, Wilson, Goss, Clark (Burdon, 68), Chisholm, Georgiou, Hampson (Doherty, 65), Imiolek (Harris, 62), Nilsen, Hooper, Phillips, Smith (Rowan, 65), Barrow, Walker (Tyson, 46), Baldwin (Tussac, 62) Replacement not used: Graham
Referee: Wayne Davies (WRU).