2016/2017 Principality Premiership
Neath 21 v 10 Bridgend
05 May 2017 - The Gnoll, Neath
Bridgend Ravens

Match Report

Neath 21-10 Bridgend

Bridgend Ravens missed out on a spot in the Principality Premiership Tier 2 playoff places falling to a 21 points to 10 defeat at the Gnoll on Friday night.

A scrappy affair with five yellow and two red cards saw Neath come out on top, claiming a playoff berth themselves as the forward power of the Welsh All Blacks dominated the game.

Neath were well on top throughout the first half and will have been disappointed not to have converted more of their attacking opportunities. Tries from Chris Morgans and Aaron Grabham plus a conversion from Ed Howley gave the Welsh All Blacks a 12-0 lead after the opening 20 minutes.

Bridgend defended valiantly to keep the scoreline close but the forward power of the hosts meant the Ravens were unable to get a foothold in the game. A couple of lightning breaks from Tom O'Flaherty, playing his final game in Bridgend colours, the only chances the visitors had to get over the whitewash but Bridgend were unable to finish off their chances.

Cai Lewis saw yellow with the clock ticking towards 40 as the Bridgend scrum could not contain the Neath power, despite Lewis seemingly evening up the contest.

Bridgend landed their first points with the clock in the red as Jamie Murphy slotted a long range penalty, following on from a fine performance from the tee the week before to give the significant travelling Bridgend support hope for an improved second half.  

HT Neath RFC 12-3 Bridgend Ravens

A second half blighted by indiscipline, including numerous scuffles off the ball saw four yellow cards plus two reds in the half. Bridgend had Matthew John and Iestyn Merriman sent to the bin following scuffles whilst Neath saw John Barley and Ryan Thomas yellow carded. Uncontested scrums followed with Neil White shown a red card for a horrific punch. Bridgend also saw a red card with the game almost over, captain Jamie Murphy the recipient to round off a frustrating night for the visitors.

In between the scuffles, Bridgend managed the only try of the second half following a loose kick from the Welsh All Blacks. Adam O'Driscoll broke away down field and Bridgend worked an overlap to send Ryan Griffiths over in the corner. Murphy converted to narrow the margin to just two points however the Ravens failed to capitalise with the man advantage.

Neath Fullback Ed Howley made the Ravens pay for further indiscipline landing 3 penalties in the final 10 minutes to push the hosts out to a nine point lead, which Bridgend were unable to chase down to finish the season in fifth place in Tier 2.

Official : Mike English (Wales)

Neath Bridgend