PONTYPOOL stayed in the race for a play-off place in the Indigo Premiership as Pontypridd fell by the wayside.

A 39-14 win at home over a stubborn Bridgend side means Leighton Jones’ men are still in touch with Ebbw Vale and Cardiff as they fight to join Newport and Llandovery in the semi-finals.

Newport took over top spot, and guaranteed themselves a home semi-final, as they beat reigning champions Llandovery 24-6, last week and Ebbw Vale cut the gap on the Drovers to 14 points with three games to go.

The Steelmen won 24-16 at Swansea to go within one-point of clinching a semi-final place. They still have to host Pontypool in their run in.

The double-chasing Drovers need just a point to join the Black & Ambers in securing a home semi-final, but the real fight is for fourth place.

Ebbw Vale, currently in third on 76 points, need just one more point from their remaining three fixtures, leaving Cardiff, Pontypool and cup finalists Merthyr to battle it out for the final spot in the final four.

Cardiff are currently in the box seat as they currently sit fourth on 68 points with just two regular matches to play. Both are at the Arms Park against Carmarthen Quins and then, crucially, Merthyr.

Pontypool and Merthyr both have two games in hand on the Blue & Blacks and will look to pounce should there be any slip ups. Pontypool have 56 points and Merthyr 55, and they also still have to play each other once more this season at Pontypool Park.

Wings Ewan Bowden and Ryan Gardner, lock Dylan Bartlett and centre Ethan Phillips scored for Ebbw Vale in their 24-17 win at Swansea, with Evan Lloyd kicking two conversions.

Pontypool ran in five tries in a 39-14 victory over Bridgend. Wing Marcus Jones, second row Ashley Sweet, scrum-half Morgan Lloyd, centre Joel Mahoney and hooker Sam Scarfe crossed the whitewash while Matthew Jarvis kicked 14 points.

“Bridgend had a lot of fight about them and made us work hard for the win. After another slowish start, the boys then reacted and in the second half we firmly took control of the game,” said Pontypool director of rugby, Jones “We adjusted our tactics in the second half, and we expected to come out and dominate territory, possession and energy levels.

“We’ve altered training a few times this season and we’re now seeing the benefits in the style we are playing due to the last block of our sessions.”