Bridgend Ravens battled to victory at a rain soaked Morganstone Brewery Field on Friday night edging out Carmarthen in a tight, attritional contest.
Outscored by two tries to one, it was Bridgend's kicking that helped earn victory, with Supporters Man Of The Match Owen Howe slotting 14 points from the tee in his first game in Bridgend colours for nearly four years.
Bridgend dominated the opening 15 minutes, and bagged a first try following a long period of phases just five metres from the Carmarthen line. Ben Jones was the man to drive over Owen Howe converted.
All of the Ravens hard work was quickly undone as a lapse in concentration allowed Jac Wilson to slice through the defence to score. Fly half Wilson converted his own try to level the scores.
Howe continued his fine individual performance, showing great footballing skills with two perfectly measured outside boot touch finders, pinning the Quins deep in their 22, allowing the Bridgend defence to pile on the pressure.
Howe added a penalty at the 25 minute mark to hand Bridgend a narrow three point lead, a lead they held onto until half time.
HT Bridgend Ravens 10-7 Carmarthen Quins
Carmarthen added an early second half try as Osian Knott countered a loose Bridgend clearance. A neat chip from the visitors wing was well gathered and Knott broke into the Ravens' 22. The grubber into the try area was grounded by scrum half Aron Hemmings and Wilson converted to push the Quins out to a 4 point lead.
Howe added three more from the tee as the hour mark closed in, narrowing the gap between the sides to just a point.
With the clock nearing 70 minutes, a moment of brilliance from Jamie Murphy got Bridgend out of trouble and back on the from foot. Chasing back covering a deep clearance from Carmarthen, Murphy sent the ball skywards just outside his own 22. The Fly half gathered superbly in the air and set off up field. Murphy made it into the Quins half where he was tackled high giving Owen Howe another shot at goal, this one to edge Bridgend back into the lead, which the fullback duly slotted.
Carmarthen regained the lead just two minutes later with a penalty of their own. The lead continued to change hands throughout the second half, as Howe again gave Bridgend the lead just four minutes later adding his fourth penalty, the penalty was the fullbacks fourteenth point of the match and gave Bridgend a slender two point advantage.
As the clock neared the red, Carmarthen earned a five metre scrum, challenging the Ravens line. Any form of score from the visitors would surely have seen the Ravens beaten but up stood Captain Nathan Edwards who raced out of the defensive line to intercept and clear up field. Bridgend’s defence held firm for the final two minutes as outside half Murphy booted the ball into the main stand to bring an end to the game.
The victory was Bridgend’s second in three league games and they’ll be hoping for more of the same when relegation rivals Bargoed come to the Morganstone Brewery Field on Thursday evening, kick off 7:30pm.