31 Aug Bridgend 24-27 Merthyr
Gareth Thompson’s long-range penalty two minutes from time ensured Merthyr’s 27-24 victory in Bridgend’s first pre-season outing at the Timbuild Brewery Field.
Backed by a large home crowd for their first home game back in over 18 months, Bridgend came back from a 17 point half time deficit, but a late Gareth Thompson penalty denied them at least a share of the spoils.
Merthyr started the game strongly as their pack showed their strength when Paddy McBride opened the scoring from a driving maul.
Bridgend reacted well to going behind, with their forwards going through the phases patiently and earning a penalty five metres out. Tom Lucas decided to tap and give the ball to Dafi Davies who sent young Osprey Travis Huntley through a gap to level the scores at 7-7.
The Ravens continued to put pressure on the away side, however a loose pass in the Bridgend backline was capitalised on when Merthyr full back Ben Jones kicked through twice before Thompson dived on the ball under the posts, converting his own try.
The home side went down to 14 men just after the half hour mark as Kieran Martin received a yellow card while defending on their own line.
The Ironmen took advantage of the extra man scoring with another driving maul from the resulting penalty, Kelvin Williams claiming the try.
Just a few minutes later the away side scored their fourth as scrum half James Soanes broke off the back of a maul and kicked through for Sam Jones to gather and score in the corner. They took a 7-24 lead into the break.
HT – Bridgend 7-24 Merthyr
Bridgend made a dream start to the second half to the delight of the Ravens faithful, Stuart Floyd-Ellis picked a pinpoint pass to Edd Howley who finished superbly after rounding the full back.
Howley scored his second just five minutes later after a well worked backs move saw Caine Woolerton break before passing to Howley to bring Bridgend back to within one score.
The Ravens secured their fourth try of the match after a turnover from Floyd-Ellis in the middle of the park. He found Tom Morgan out wide who offloaded to Howley before he passed to Jamie Murphy for a clinical finish in the corner. Owen Howe converted to level the score at 24-24.
Two minutes from time Merthyr were awarded a penalty just inside the Bridgend half. Ex Cardiff fly half Thompson stepped up and kicked the match winning points.
Bridgend will play Newport RFC next at the Timbuild Brewery Field on Saturday 11th of September.