27 Sep Llanelli 18-21 Bridgend
Bridgend Ravens earned their first win of the Indigo Premiership campaign with a 18 – 21 victory at Parc y Scarlets against Llanelli.
Despite trailing 10-5 at the interval, Steve Jones’ side fought back with an impressive second half showing to take all four points from West Wales.
Llanelli started the game strongly pressurising a number of Ravens lineouts and earned their reward when hooker Morgan MacRae scored from a driving maul, giving them a 5-0 lead.
Bridgend worked their way into the match after a slow opening 20 minutes. They nearly replied, only for Edd Howley to be denied by a brilliant try saving tackle by Joe Roberts.
Llanelli scored their second try of the match after Ravens scrum half Harvey Nash spilled possession in his own half. The home side worked the ball to the wide area where MacRae was waiting to power his way over again.
Towards the end of the first half Llanelli’s discipline started to slip, conceding numerous penalties in their own 22. Bridgend finally capitalized when Lee Murphy scored from a driving maul to bring the score to 10-5.
MacRae was sent to the sin bin right before half time after a number of infringements for the home side, but Bridgend couldn’t capitalise on the advantage before the interval.
HT – Llanelli 10-5 Bridgend Ravens
From the restart the home side failed to exit, knocking the ball on. Bridgend’s backs worked an excellent move off the back of the scrum and young Osprey Tom Florence finished brilliantly on debut. Matthew Jones converted, putting them 10-12 ahead.
Jones and Llanelli’s Josh Phillips kicked a penalty each, before Jones then extended the away side’s lead to 13 – 18 with his second penalty.
The home side then hit back through a try from outside half Ioan Hughes, however Phillips missed the kick once again with Joe Gatt almost charging down the attempt at goal. This left the sides level in a tightly poised tie 18-18.
The Ravens battled hard after conceding and were awarded a penalty 20m out for a high tackle, 37 year old Jones made no mistake in slotting the kick to put his side back ahead.
Llanelli fought back in the final few minutes and nearly won the game, however after a number of pick and go’s from their forwards saw the ball dropped the ball over the line. Bridgend hung on in the final few seconds to take an 18 -21 victory to the delight of the travelling Bridgend supporters.
Bridgend will look to back up their first win of the season when they welcome unbeaten Aberavon to the Timbuild Brewery Field on Saturday afternoon (ko 2:30pm).
Report by Tobias Hunt.