18 May, 15:44
It's down to the wire now for the five contenders who have been shortlisted for the ultimate individual accolade in northern hemisphere rugby, ERC European Player of the Year 2013.
PARKER PEN SHIELD SEMI-FINAL 27 APRIL 2002
London Irish 27 Pontypridd 33
Once again the Valley Commandoes defied the odds and left the rest of us open mouthed.
Their PARKER PEN SHIELD victory over London Irish was arguably the most complete European performance by any Welsh side since cross border rugby began.
The Sardis Road crew were dubbed as no-hopers ahead of this semi-final at the Kassam Stadium, Oxford, but Lynn Howells men proved all the doubters wrong as they displayed a brand of rugby that would grace any paddock, and bring some much needed cheer to Welsh rugby...
Pontypridd made the perfect start to this contest when Gareth Wyatt scored the most wonderful of tries.
Having stolen the line out, Ponty moved the ball wide to Jon Bryant who brokethe first tackle and fed Sonny Parker.
Parker in turn released Gareth Baber and the former scrum half fed backinside for Wyatt to scamper over for Brett Davey to convert.
It was an all action start from the underdogs and London Irish certainly knew they were in for the game of their lives.
Ceri Sweeney might have improved that lead on five minutes but his dropped goal attempt went wide.
The travelling hoardes from Wales were certainly making themselves known to the Exiles and as a deafening rendition of Bread of Heaven rang around the ground, Ponty were back on the front foot and threatening the Irish line.
It was frantic stuff and the Irish, who were far too good for Northampton in the Powergen Final last week, were struggling for parity.
Ponty had rattled them in the set piece and they were a yard quicker in the loose.
Davey turned down a penalty shot at goal on 21 minutes but a moment or two later was converting a second try - this time from prop Gethin Jenkins.
The Ponty forwards drove deep into the heart of the Irish defence and after 10 rucks, Jenkins was sent over for a try that Davey improved.
Ponty have defied the odds before, but they knew that this was arguably their toughest European task since the Battle of Brive.
But the Exiles struck back straight away when Eddie Halvey popped up on the right wing to end a movement that Barry Everitt converted.
Straight from the kick off Ponty won a penalty when Richard Kirke was offside at a ruck. Ponty kicked for touch, Brent Cockbain caught and fed
Mefin Davies and the Wales A skipper muscled his way over with half of Ponty on his back.
Davey converted from the touchline to bring the house down but for the next five minutes it was all Irish as Ponty desperately held on infront of their own posts.
They did so for a while but the Exiles were soon celebrating themselves with a try from Richard Kirke.
And it was all green a minute later when a charged down kick gave Venter a chance to break and the South African fed Michael Horak who strolled behind the posts for a try that Everitt again improved.
But Davey gave Ponty the advantage with the last kick of the half to leave Ponty 24-21 ahead at the interval.
Just as they had in the first, Ponty made a scoring start to the second when the Irish were blatantly offside at a ruck.
Davey stepped up, as he has on so many occasions this season, and converted with ease from 40 metres.
When the Irish stepped offside again in front of their own posts, Scottish referee Rob Dickson had no second thought about awarding another penalty which Davey again improved.
The full back missed his next effort after Venter was pulled up for mouthing after being dumped on his backside by powerhouse centre Jon Bryant. Bryant just smiled.
It was an astonishing game and one which had every one of the 12,000 fans on the edge of their seats.
Everitt cut the arrears with his first penalty of the game but seven minutes from time, Davey banged over another penalty to restore Ponty's nine point lead.
And though Everitt struck back with a late kick, it was all too little too late.It was Ponty's day.
I still remember the game very clearly," admitted man-of-the-match Jon Bryant.
"It was a game in which we showed what Welsh rugby was all about -pride and passion.
"As well as being a great game from Welsh rugby it was also an extremely good advert for European rugby.
"It was also a great day for Pontypridd Rugby club and will go down in our history as one of the greatest games the club has had.
"I remember it being a very tough game. We were defending for long periods of the second half but we managed to hold on for a deserved victory.
"When the final whistle went it was a huge relief. Welsh pride and passion won the day for us.
"It was a great day for Ponty and for Wales."
His sentiments were matched by Pontypridd coach Lynn Howells.
"The spirit on the day was wonderful," said Howells.
"The way we played in that game was confirmation of what the side was capable of achieving."
Tries: Halvey, Kirke, Horak
Coversions: Everitt (3)
Penalties: Everitt (2)
Tries: Wyatt, Jenkins, Davies
Conversions: Davey (3)
Penalties: Davey (4)
LONDON IRISH: M Horak; P Sackley, G Appleford, B Venter, J Bishop; B Everitt, H Martens (D Edwards); N Hatley (D Wheatley), R Kirke (N Drotske), S Halford, R Strudwick (capt), S Williams (G Delaney), E Halvey, D Danaher, C Sheasby.
PONTYPRIDD: B Davey; G Wyatt, S Parker, J Bryant, G Baber; C Sweeney, P John (capt); G Jenkins, M Davies, D Bell, B Cockbain, R Sidoli, N Kelly (D McIntosh), R Parks, M Owen.