Bridgend Ravens secured a spot in the National Cup Quarter Finals with a hard earned 21 points to nil victory over Newbridge at a rain soaked Welfare Ground on Saturday afternoon.
It was a much changed Bridgend side as Matt Silva utilised the depth of his squad. Jack Pope captained the side and Ollie Evans made his fiftieth appearance as the coaches took the opportunity to experiment ahead of a vital run in of games which will determine Bridgend’s Principality Premiership future for next season.
Tough conditions led to an arm wrestle of a match in the mud, with both sides struggling to keep hold of the ball for extended periods of time. Bridgend, backed by a large, vocal travelling support, bagged an early score through supporters Man of the Match Owen Thomas. The hooker barged his way over following some strong carries from the forwards. Ryan Evans slotted the conversion.
Seventeen minutes in, both teams headed for the changing rooms as a Newbridge player received extended treatment on the pitch. The match restarted with a Newbridge shot at goal, which was sent wide following an offside penalty.
Bridgend added a second try through captain Jack Pope in similar fashion to the first. A Bridgend lineout at the Newbridge 22 was carried toward the line by the pack and Pope drove over for the score. Evans again converted.
HT Newbridge RFC 0-14 Bridgend Ravens
Both teams struggled with the worsening conditions as the second half went on. An attritional battle between the sides saw both teams go close, but neither converting their opportunities into points.
It took Bridgend until the last five minutes to add their third try, and it was a cracker. Iestyn Merriman showed his ball carrying prowess as he powered through the Newbridge defence around halfway. Back row support first from Dafi Davie, who was closely followed by Joe Grabham saw the Openside slide over for the try. Ryan Evans rounded off his afternoon with a third successful conversion securing Bridgend’s place in the quarter final.
Bridgend Ravens’ attention returns to league action this weekend with a trip to Pontypridd.