Bridgend Ravens battled to a dramatic bonus point win at the Morganstone Brewery Field under the lights on Friday night against regional rivals Swansea.
With the visit of the Scrum V cameras, plus a bumper crowd, both sides treated us to an exhilarating yet scrappy encounter. Bridgend spent most of the game behind, but a final flurry saw them steal five points; their tenth win in thirteen Premiership games stretching back to last season.
Swansea took an early lead thanks to a score from Rhys Williams which former Raven Owen Howe converted. Swansea would hold onto their lead for the entire 80 minutes, with Bridgend only leading at the final whistle, thanks to their incredible fight back.
Bridgend spent the best part of the next 20 minutes in the Swansea 22, the visitors’ ploy to slow down the Ravens attack held out Bridgend, despite their repeated infringements.
A yellow card was eventually awarded to Swansea's Tighthead Prop Greg Cunniffe and Bridgend finally managed to bag their first try of the match thanks to a driving effort out wide from Adam O'Driscoll.
Disorganised in defence, Bridgend conceded on the stroke of halftime as Andr Claypole finished a quick fire Swansea attack.
HT Bridgend Ravens 5-12 Swansea RFC
Swansea, looking for a first win in 15 league games, stretched their lead to twelve points thanks to a Duane Eager try just seven minutes into the second half.
Bridgend kept hitting back, though their inaccuracy made the task harder for themselves. Jamie Murphy took advantage of a loose pass which bounced into the Outside Halves hands for the hosts second try. Will Holley converted.
Owen Howe kept the scoreboard ticking for the Whites adding a penalty as the hour mark arrived.
Iestyn Merriman came off the bench to make a big impact for the hosts and the Hooker bagged Bridgend's third try. A powerful pick and go from the replacement, followed by Holley's conversion got the Ravens back within a point. However Howe again stretched Swansea's lead with another penalty, leaving Bridgend needing a try which would steal a win.
Swansea attacked late in the half, nearly breaking through for what would have been the winning try, but an immense defensive effort stifled the Whites efforts. Iestyn Merriman the man that secured a vital turnover to get Bridgend out of immediate danger.
Bridgend were not about to fold despite being second best for parts of their first home fixture of the season. Battling to an incredible climax, the Ravens worked themselves into a position from where they could win the match. Paul John was shown a yellow card and Bridgend opted for the scrum five metres from the Swansea line. Initially, the hosts passed into midfield where the Whites swarmed to hold the ball up over the line, but the resulting scrum on two occasions proved much to powerful and the penalty try arrived with the clock in the red.
Bridgend Ravens Supporters Man Of The Match Sponsored By The Fountain Inn Aberkenfig - Iestyn Merriman