It was heartbreak for Bridgend as a late Jacob Botica penalty saw RGC clinch victory by the smallest of margins at the ZipWorld Stadium.
The opening five minutes of the match saw RGC dominate with maul drive after maul drive, Bridgend struggled to contain the driving effort of the North Walian pack and RGC were able to kick multiple penalties to the corner. The hosts found themselves five metres out and kicked a penalty to touch where the next maul drive was unstoppable. Sam Wainwright touched down at the back of the maul, however Cross’ conversion was wide.
Ryan Evans got the Ravens on the board from the tee with 15 minutes played shortly before the visitors took the lead for the first time.
Former Scarlet Dion Jones took a high ball just outside his own 22 before attempting an audacious offload that fell into the hands of Harri Morgan. The teenage scrum half had the gas to run the ball in, bagging the visitor’s first try of the match. Ryan Evans converted to push Bridgend into a five point lead.
With a big wind in their favour, the Ravens twice opted for a shot at goal from 50+ metres as the half wound down. Ryan Evans’ effort from halfway had more than enough distance but sailed just wide. Jamie Murphy then stepped up from 57 metres but a similar outcome saw the ball fly just the wrong side of the upright.
HT RGC 5-10 Bridgend Ravens
Bridgend struggled to cope with the power of the hosts maul drive early in the second half, just as they did in the first. Owen Thomas, making his first Bridgend Ravens start, was shown a yellow card following a collapsed maul in the Ravens 22.
Despite being a man down, the Ravens defence refused to budge, and Bridgend held out for the duration of the yellow card despite significant pressure from the hosts.
RGC eventually bagged a second try as their forwards built into the Bridgend 22 with powerful carries. Spreading the ball wide, RGC crashed over for a second try, scored by Harri Evans. Botica converted to give RGC a slender 2 point lead heading into the final quarter and less than 2 minutes later, Botica extended the hosts lead with three points from the tee.
Bridgend fought hard, working their way back into the game, giving the vociferous travelling supporters hope as the match entered the final five minutes.
The Ravens maul drive fired perfectly late in the game, driving to within five metres. RGC pulled it down which saw Captain Maredydd Francis shown a yellow card on his 100th appearance. Bridgend opted for the scrum with the hosts now a man light upfront, and the Ravens got their reward with an immense scrum, resulting in a penalty try. The automatic seven pointer handed the Ravens the lead late in the game.
RGC looked to have run out of luck with the kickoff directly following the penalty try flying over the touchline. Bridgend's previous scrum showed its power, resulting in a seven pointer and the Ravens were confident of winning possession to secure victory in Colwyn Bay on the club's first trip North. The scrum went down at centre field as both props hit the ground, however the referee awarded RGC a penalty from the innocuous incident. Jacob Botica stepped up to the plate and nailed the 50 metre penalty with the wind at his back, snatching a victory from the jaws of defeat and leaving the Ravens faithful in despair.
Bridgend Ravens Supporters Man of The Match - Ashton Evans