14 man Bridgend battled to a 28 points to 20 victory over Ospreylian rivals Neath at the Morganstone Brewery Field.
A poor start to the match from the Ravens handed Neath a 10 point lead with little over 10 minutes played. A knock on on their own line handed Kieran Williams a try. Ed Howley converted.
Howley then added a long range penalty before Bridgend burst into life with a magnificent try, the 60 metre attack started with Cai Evans’ creativity. The teenage flyhalf offload set the Ravens on the attack. Harri Morgan broke into the neath 22 and Kieran Martin was on hand to finish the move. Evans added the conversion to narrow the margin between the sides to three.
Bridgend took the lead for the first time in the match with 25 minutes played. Neath’s former Principality Premiership top try scorer Aaron Grabham dived over for the Ravens second try. Another flowing move from the young and exciting Bridgend backline broke the visitors defence and Grabham was able to score out wide. Cai Evans converted, following a five minute delay as the referee received treatment, to push Bridgend into a 4 point lead.
The Welsh All Blacks bagged a second try late in the half as they broke from deep in their own half. Mike Evans touched down to edge Neath ahead by a single point. Zac O’Driscoll was shown a yellow card following the score.
Bridgend held out whilst down to 14 with Zac O'Driscoll in the bin, however just as the Captain was returning to the field, Rhodri Apsee was shown a red card following a scrap on the floor. Bridgend found themselves a man short for the remainder of the match.
HT Bridgend Ravens 14-15 Neath RFC
Bridgend showed immense character throughout the second half, fighting back from a point down to secure an important victory. The 14 man Bridgend defence stood firm all half, only conceding on the last play of the game.
The maturity shown by Bridgend's teenage halfback partnership helped the Ravens build a lead that would secure the Ravens second victory of the season. Supporters Man of the Match Cai Evans added three penalties throughout the half, pushing Bridgend out to an 8 point lead heading into the final 10 minutes.
As the clock headed towards 80, the Ravens made sure of the victory with their third try. Cai Evans, again instrumental, produced a perfectly weighted cross kick to find Aaron Grabham on his right wing. Grabham stepped passed the last defender and dived over for his second try of the match.
Neath didn't give up and touched down for their third try with the clock in the red. Bridgend defended heroically with a man less throughout the half but we're unable to contain the visitors to the end as Scott Gibson sniped from close range. One last big effort from the Ravens, attempting to charge down the conversion paid off as the conversion sailed wide, meaning Neath left without a losing bonus point, putting Bridgend a point ahead of the Welsh All Blacks in the league standings.