Pontypridd 14

Glasgow Caley 21

Match abandoned

Those who believe that a blasphemy has been perpetrated with the creation of Scotland's two professional teams must have drawn further inspiration from the bizarre events in the Rhondda Valley.

At last, in a match televised live there, it seemed the Reds were about to earn some respect for Scottish rugby on Welsh soil when proceedings were interrupted by an event of near biblical proportions. From the heavens emerged cyclonic winds which made the already persistent rain dance like one of Murrayfield marketeer Phil Anderton's firework displays, picking up leaves which swirled confetti-like around the ground before several thousand more gallons of rain, intermingled with sleety snow, turned ever-soggy Sardis Road into a sea of sludge.

Reds coach Richie Dixon had no choice, then, but to agree with referee Nigel Owens that the surface was far too dangerous to even attempt to begin the second half.

''We've not performed down here before, but the guys were trying to lay that to rest so this augurs well for the future,'' he said of what was the best Scottish performance so far in the Celtic League in Wales.

Gordon Simpson, in a typically vigorous response to his embarrassing ejection from the Scotland squad, led the way after good work by the returning Donny Macfadyen.

However, it was only after Ponty's try by Tongan prop Nalu Tau that the Reds truly turned on the style, as Jason White broke to put James Craig in before Tommy Hayes' hit the line with pace and commitment to earn further warm applause from the locals.

All to no avail, though. The chance to go clear at the top of the Celtic League was denied them.

Pontypridd - B Davey; A Hunte, S Parker, J Lewis, L Woodard; L Jarvis, P John; C Loader, F Vunipola, N Tau, R Cockbain, R Sidoli, D McIntosh, R Parks, M Owen.

Reds - A Bulloch; J Steel, J McLaren, J Stuart, J Craig; T Hayes, G Beveridge; D Hilton, G Bulloch, G McIlwham, C Stewart, J White, G Simpson, D Macfadyen, J Petrie.

Referee - N Owens (Wales)

Scoring sequence (Pontypridd first) 3-0, 3-7, 8-7, 11-7,11-14, 11-21, 14-21.

Scorers: Pontypridd - Try- Tau (17). Penalties - Jarvis (3, 22, 34), Reds -Tries - Simpson (7), Craig (25), Hayes (29). Conversions - Hayes (7, 25, 29)

Kevin Ferrie