Where are they now? SWALEC Cup Winners, 2015

by Tobias Hunt

Go back five years ago to 2015, the 3rd of May specifically. Bridgend Ravens were playing in their first Swalec Cup Final since the 1990 defeat to Neath. Pontypridd were standing in the way of the Ravens’ first Cup win since 1980. Ponty were searching for a third successive double and had only lost to one team all season, Bridgend. However, the Ravens denied that double with a historic 19-15 victory at the then Millennium Stadium. Read about the starting XV from that day below.

  1. Owen Howe

The Full back kicked 14 points on the day to guide Bridgend to the Cup win, kicking four penalties and one conversion. Howe has had spells in the Premiership with Cross Keys, Swansea and most recently Merthyr, he’s known throughout the league for his kicking prowess off the tee. He’s also played several games for his home club Maesteg Harlequins in Division 1. The 26-year-old Primary School teacher is now a regular at the Brewery Field and reached 50 games for Ravens during last season, having re signed at the start of the 2018/19 season. He also scored 99 points last term for Steve Jones’ side.

Howe spoke about the lead up to the final, “Our form in the league that year was poor, I think we won three games all year. However, we’d beaten them in the league that season so we did believe we could win.”

“Looking back at the day, it all seems a bit of a blur. The day before, we were able to go down and practice in the stadium and I remember missing quite a few kicks which didn’t help the nerves. Once the game was underway and I’d kicked the first penalty, you get into a rhythm and forget where you are. I was happy to help the team on the day.”

On how he felt after the final whistle, “I was relieved more than anything, for the last 20 minutes we were defending our own line. We only had any relief through penalties and when Flats scored. The forwards put in hell of shift that day and it’s why we won in my opinion. Once it sunk in, it was a sense of pride that we’d won the first trophy for the club in the semi-pro era.”

“The whole week leading up to the game, you could sense what it meant to the people of Bridgend to be in a Cup final. I remember sitting down after the game and just realising what we’d achieved. For a lot of us, it would be the last time we’d put the Bridgend jersey on (for a while anyway) so it was nice to celebrate together.”

  1. Tom O’Flaherty

The match winner on the day with the all-important try, Flats is now starring at the Exeter Chiefs. He showed his quality in that final with his kick through and chase to score and he’s now doing that regularly for the European Champions.

London born Tom moved to Wales where he was studying at Cardiff University, he played for Cardiff RFC towards the end of the 2013 season. He then moved to the Ravens in the 2014-15 season where they won the Swalec Cup against Pontypridd and scored 18 times in 25 games. He then spent a season out in France playing for Montpellier before returning to Wales on a dual membership with the Ospreys and Bridgend. In 2017 he signed for the Exeter Chiefs and has won the Anglo-Welsh Cup, Gallagher Premiership and the European Champions Cup in recent years.

  1. Ryan Evans

He was an ever present in the Ravens side for while after the Cup win playing in various positions along the backline. He joined Bridgend Ravens from Llanharan and made over 100 appearances for the club. After winning the Swalec Cup in 2015, Evans was named Vice Captain by Head Coach Mike Hook. He went on to ply his trade at the Morganstone Brewery Field until late 2019 when he moved to fellow Indigo Premiership side, Ebbw Vale.

  1. Adam Williams

The powerful centre was a solid presence in the Ravens midfield throughout his time at the club. After winning the Swalec Cup with Bridgend, Williams decided to move to then Premiership side Bedwas RFC. He’s become a regular at the Bridge Field, playing over 100 games for the club and scoring 30 tries. Bedwas are currently in the Championship, sitting in 3rd when last season was cancelled. The 34- year old from Cardiff will be hoping to help Bedwas climb back into the Premiership when rugby resumes.

  1. Mike Powell

Powell spent six seasons at the Brewery Field since he signed in 2014. Known for his pace, he became a regular in his first season there scoring four tries in the league. He went on to score 26 tries in total for the Ravens and made over 100 appearances for the club. The winger who has also played for Aberavon signed for Ebbw Vale in the back end of last year having moved into the area.

  1. James Dixon

Dixon moved on following the Ravens Cup victory, signing for Bedwas for the following two seasons. The outside half from Maesteg has also played for Cardiff, Carmarthen Quins, Swansea, Newport and Maesteg. He’s accumulated over 1,500 points in the Premiership during his career. After finishing playing Dixon spent three years at the Arms Park as part of the Cardiff RFC coaching setup. In July, Newport RFC announced will become their Backs Coach for the upcoming season.

  1. Chris Williams

Scrum half Williams has been a magnificent servant for the Ravens since he joined in 2012. He started every game in the run to Cup victory in 2015, including a try in the Semi-final against Carmarthen Quins. Williams is still currently playing at the Brewery Field and has played over 150 games for the club. The former Cardiff player is one of the most experienced players in the Ravens squad and will be hoping to steer them to a successful season when it does commence.

  1. Gary Carpenter

Carpenter who started in the front row at the Principality Stadium first played for the Ravens in the 2012/13 season. He went on to make 61 appearances for the club before leaving after the win against Pontypridd to join Cross Keys. After a spell at Pandy Park with Keys Carpenter moved over the bridge to join Taunton Titans where he currently is, in the English National League One.

  1. Ashleigh James ©

Skipper James led the Ravens to the historic victory in 2015, which ended up being his last game for the club. James was a regular at the Brewery Field and he knew his way to try line scoring 23 tries in 74 appearances there. He impressed Pontypridd so much in the Cup final they signed him for the following season. The Morriston born hooker spent two years at Sardis Road making 30 appearances before moving to St Helen’s to play for Swansea. James had a year with the Whites before he decided to stop playing to concentrate on his business ‘Clearway Cleaning Solutios’.

  1. Jon Thomas

Thomas started at Tighthead in the victory against Ponty, he was snapped up by Aberavon just a few months after that game. Thomas has been a regular at the Talbot Athletic ground ever since playing over 100 games for the Wizards.

  1. Henri Williams

Henri started the Cup final against Ponty as a 21-year-old. Second row Williams only spent one season at the Brewery Field, which turned out to be a pretty successful one. Henri had a spell in North Wales with RGC, after impressing there the Dragons added Williams to their squad, he played two games for the region. He had a loan spell with English club Ampthill before signing for them on a permanent basis last season.

  1. Ben Jones

Jones started as the most experienced of the second rows, at just 22. He joined the club in 2013, however he left after the SWALEC Cup victory. He spent four years at Aberavon where he made 80 appearances, including a Premiership runners up medal. The Kenfig Hill product re-joined the Ravens in 2018 and is still currently at the club, having played 81 games in the blue and white.

  1. Zac O’Driscoll

The former Llanharan and Heol-y-Cyw player was a regular in the Ravens side under every Coach. After the SWALEC Cup victory Zac was announced as Ravens captain for the following season. He captained the Brewery Field side between 2015 and 2018. He then moved to the Arms Park to join Cardiff RFC, where he won WRU National Cup, and finished last season top of the Premiership. Recently it was announced that Zac will return to the Ravens for the forthcoming campaign.

  1. Adam O’Driscoll

The older of the O’Dricoll brothers, Adam joined the Ravens in 2013, and has been an ever present at the Brewery Field since. The dynamic back rower made 147 appearances in the Bridgend kit. It was announced at the end of last season that Adam will be returning to his former club Heol-y-Cyw to take up a coaching role and he will be missed by the Ravens faithful.

  1. Andrew Waite

Waite came up through the youth ranks over the Borough and impressed when given the opportunity to play for the Ravens in the 2012/13 season. He was awarded Man of the Match in the SWALEC Cup victory over Pontypridd, which ended up being his last game for Bridgend. The former Tondu player joined Bedwas, where he made 84 appearances. He is now currently playing under Jason Hyatt at Aberavon.

You can see highlights from our third WRU National Cup victory on the WRU’s YouTube by clicking here.