Bridgend Ravens produced a spirited performance to pick up two bonus points in a home defeat to Llanelli on Saturday.
Much like the game earlier this season between the sides, Bridgend were in the clash right until the end – and even lead after coming back from a 17-0 deficit in the first half. After the game, Ben Rose praised his team’s attitude and commitment and believes that the result shows that his side can compete with the best in the league.
It was a horrific start for the home side, following an excellent win against Cardiff, the Ravens seemed devoid of all confidence in the early stages. This allowed Llanelli to cross twice in quick succession. After an early penalty for Josh Lewis, tries from Rhys Thomas and Josh Adams put their side an incredible seventeen points ahead after just twenty four minutes.
The home supporters got the response they wanted, from the kick off, Bridgend hunted down their opponents with renewed vigour. The Ravens finally got their hands on some ball and forced the ball to Rhys Ward Jones who squeezed over in the corner. The conversion was pushed wide by Ross Jones.
For a brief period, the game lulled, but after a superb territorial kick by James Dixon, Llanelli overthrew their lineout into the hands of skipper Arthur Ellis who was able to touch down for the easiest try he will ever score. This time, Dixon sliced a conversion past the uprights.
That try really put the wind in the Ravens sails, they came close a few times before man of the match, Adam Williams, broke the Llanelli line which led to Ashley Evans playing in Ryan Evans for a sensational try. Dixon put the record straight by nailing the conversion, and amazingly the Ravens were now level before half time.
Disastrously for the home side, they gifted Llanelli a try on the stroke of half time. James Griffiths was the beneficiary of some poor defence, a try which was added to by Lewis’ conversion.
HT: Bridgend 17-24 Llanelli (3-3T).
Bridgend got the start to the second half they wanted. A comedy of errors in the visitors defence saw the ball bounce into the hands of the grateful Ross Jones who touched down under the posts. Dixon slotted the conversion to level the scores.
The see-saw encounter saw Bridgend go into the lead again. After a flurry of changes halted the flow of the game, Adam Williams was again forceful in his carrying which saw him beat a number of defenders going down the touchline. He was somehow able to power his way to the whitewash to give Bridgend the impetus.
The onus was now on Llanelli to fight back – which they did. Substitute Shaun Hopkins had barely touched the ball before pouncing to draw Llanelli level, before Lewis put his side ahead again. This incredible game was poised on a knife edge as it reached the final period.
Two penalties for Bridgend, one from James Dixon before an excellent long range attempt from Ross Jones, put the home side into a winning position. However, Llanelli showed why they are challenging for the title by stealing victory from the jaws of defeat late on.
Shaun Hopkins crossed again, before a late Josh Lewis penalty added to the Ravens misery. Credit to the home side must be given, as they fought until the end. A break from Owen Howe almost earned the Ravens a victory, but his kick chase went just too far, allowing Llanelli to clear and end the thrilling contest as winners.
After the game, the Bridgend Ravens supporters voted Adam Williams as their man of the match. The impressive Ryan Evans came a close second, with Greg George and captain Arthur Ellis in third.
Ravens Scorers: Tries: Rhys Ward Jones, Ryan Evans, Arthur Ellis, Ross Jones & Adam Williams. Conversions: James Dixon (2). Pens: James Dixon & Ross Jones.
This match report was written on software provided to Bridgend Ravens by our official IT supplier, Aspect.