Bridgend Ravens rounded off their 2017/18 Principality Premiership season with a narrow victory over Ospreylian rivals Aberavon at the Talbot Athletic Ground.
Heading to the venue where the Ravens kicked off their season, Bridgend were looking to overturn the season's opening defeat, and continue their rich vein of form which had seen the Ravens claim seven wins in nine matches.
A cagey opening quarter saw plenty of kicking, before Bridgend produced the first score of the match. Supporters’ man of the match Nathan Edwards’ hard running got Bridgend over the gain line, Edwards linked brilliantly with Centre partner Stuart Floyd-Ellis who raced in for the try. Ryan Evans converted.
Aberavon struck back quickly as wasteful Bridgend kicking handed a counter attack opportunity to the hosts. Great pace shown by Wales U18 star Frankie Jones got Aberavon into the Ravens 22, Jacob Flynn hacked on and managed to down the ball for the hosts’ first score.
Having waited 125 games for a try, Cai Lewis doubled his Bridgend Ravens tally just over a month later. The prop has epitomised the Ravens efforts in recent months, rewarded with a second try of the season following another strong carry, crashing over the line. Ryan Evans again landed the conversion.
Bridgend will have been disappointed not to add to the score late in the half. Aaron Grabham saw what appeared to be a perfectly good try disallowed, before a powerful maul from the pack got Bridgend over the line again only for the ball to be knocked on as halftime arrived.
HT Aberavon RFC 7-14 Bridgend Ravens
Aberavon started the second half well, looking to clinch the lead as early as possible. A missed penalty coupled with some poor finishing will have frustrated the home crowd in the early stages of the second forty.
Lloyd Ashley was shown a yellow card following a maul infringement but Aberavon’s maul stuttered and failed to bring the score they were looking for. The try the hosts’ early second half efforts deserved, finally arrived when a powerful scrum saw Rob Dudley-Jones pick up and race over.
Aberavon then received a yellow card of their own for a dangerous tackle in the air, perhaps lucky not to receive more than a yellow. Jamie Murphy slotted a 43 metre penalty shortly after to edge Bridgend into the finest of margins as the final 10 minutes approached.
Some heroic Bridgend defending with time almost up secured the Ravens’ fifth straight victory, Captain Zach O’Driscoll typifying the Ravens defensive effort late on. Bridgend leapfrogged Aberavon in the table, seeing the Ravens climb to ninth thanks to their incredible run of form in recent months, Rounding off the season in style and bringing a smile to the faces of the vocal Bridgend faithful.