Pontypridd ...44 Glasgow Caledonian Reds...10

RICHIE Dixon's immediate after-match comment at Sardis Road on Saturday said it all. The Caley coach declared without the merest hint of a prompt: ''I knew after just five minutes that mentally we were just not there.''

It was patently clear to any Reds followers that the minds of the players, with the notable exception perhaps of World Cup pair Gordon Simpson and Glenn Metcalfe, were focused on the looming European Cup encounters with English champions Leicester.

One thing is certain - and Dixon was the first to make the inference - if Caley don't raise their game condiderably, they run the risk of taking an even bigger mauling from the Tigers.

''Full marks to Pontypridd because they did play exceptionally well,'' stated the coach.

''But we contributed to our own downfull in several ways, but particularly through poor ball retention. We certainly learned some harsh lessons.

''We can't afford to play like that again, no matter which competition we are in.''

Dixon also revealed his hope that Craig Chalmers would be fit enough to make his return to the big stage in the second Leicester match at Welford Road in a fortnight.

Despite his more secure display in the victory over Leinster, Tommy Hayes again looked out of sorts - both in general play and with the boot, squandering two easy penalty chances either side of the interval.

Dixon confirmed that Chalmers is on course to turn out for Melrose against Glasgow Hawks on Saturday at Old Anniesland and, all being well, could slip straight into the Caley No.10 jersey seven days later.

On the up-and-down fortunes of Hayes, Dixon grinned: ''That's Tommy for you - he is a mercurial sort of player.''

Ponty coach Richie Collins was justifiably delighted with his team's effort, pointing out: ''Three of our tries were long-range moves and that is something we have been working hard on in recent weeks.''

Lee Jarvis gave Ponty the lead with a penalty, with Hayes quickly levelling - but from then on the home men were in control. No.8 Geraint Lewis bagged the first try, finishing off a thrilling move that began in their own 22-zone.

Glasgow spilled possession 10 metres from the line and from the scrum, Paul John probed the blindside and sent full back Brett Davey upfield.

Davey twice exchanged with Gareth Wyatt who took the ball to within a few paces of the target before feeding inside for Lewis to charge over. Jarvis converted for a deserved 10-3 advantage.

The Reds were gaining parity in the set-piece, but their execution was far from polished, and 10 minutes later they lost another score.

Jarvis launched a penalty into the corner, Wales lock Ian Gough caught cleanly at the line out and a tremendous drive ended with hooker Andy Lamerton going over. Again Jarvis added the extra points.

To add to Caley's mounting woes Hayes missed his two simple kicks which might just have sparked a revival.

The consequent drop out took Ponty all the way back into the Glasgow half and when the visitors were penalised, referee David Davies took them back another 10 metres for dissent, and Jarvis showed Hayes how it should be done.

Bad became worse for the Reds shortly after, when another great move behind the scrum ended with Wyatt going over in the corner following a clever over the head pass from Davey. Jarvis again converted this time from the touchline to make it 27-3.

This time the Reds were stung into action and four minutes later James Craig swept towards the Ponty line and with men on the overlap, Simpson appeared at the edge of a ruck to muscle his way over in the corner. To add a touch of irony, Hayes slotted the conversion from the maximum angle.

Simpson kept doing his bit to keep Caley's spirits up, but when wing Geraint Lewis finished a great move to score a try it was all over. Jarvis converted, added another penalty - and with the final move of the match Lewis again raced in from 55 metres for Jarvis to convert with ease.

Pontypridd: B Davey; G Wyatt, S Parker, J Lewis, G Lewis; L Jarvis, P John (capt); N Tau ( C Loader,60), A Lamerton (T Vunipola,60), S Cronk, W James, I Gough, M Lloyd, G Lewis, R Field.

Glasgow Caley: G Metcalfe, A Bulloch, I McInroy, J Stuart, J Craig; T Hayes, A Nicol; G McIllwham, B Bulloch, D Hilton, S Campbell, J White, J Petrie (D McFadyen,41), R Reid, G Simpson.

Referee: D Davies (Llanbradach)

Scorers: Pontypridd: Tries: Lewis, Lamerton, Wyatt, G O Lewis (2) Conversions: Jarvis (5) Penalty: Jarvis (2) Glasgow Caley: Try: Simpson Con: Hayes Penalty: Hayes.

Scoring sequence: 3-0, 3-3, 10-3, 17-3, HT, 20-3, 27-3, 27-10, 34-10, 37-10, 44-10.

David Kelso