Bridgend Ravens had to settle for a losing bonus point at The Arms Park after a tight battle ended in a 19-16 victory for their Cardiff hosts.
An extra three points from the boot of Cardiff fullback Joe Griffin in a first half of kicks at goal turned out to be the difference, as both sides matched each other for points in the second period. Richard Smith scored a great solo effort for the Blue and Blacks in the 65th minute, with Andrew Waite crossing for the Ravens ten minutes later. Griffin and Bridgend flyhalf Jamie Murphy each added a penalty and conversion for their sides but it was that first half penalty that separated the sides at the final whistle.
The Ravens remain in ninth spot in the Principality Premiership but are still within touching distance of Newport who sit eighth, after the Black and Ambers found themselves the wrong end of a 30-9 scoreline away to league leaders Bedwas. Cardiff's victory moves them up to sixth, after Carmarthen Quins went down 19-12 to Neath at Carmarthen Park.
At the top of the table, Pontypridd move above Llandovery in to second spot, thanks to a 19-12 victory over the Drovers at Church Bank. Llanelli held off Aberavon 26-11 to stay in fourth and Cross Keys remain fifth after trouncing bottom-placed Swansea 48-0.
Cardiff had the best of the opening half hour, racing to a 9-0 lead thanks to the boot of Griffin whilst Ravens' number 10 Murphy missed two attempts from 30 metres out. But it was the visitors who looked likely to get the first try of the match.
Waite – who was to get his score later in the game – broke through several tackles down the right wing but his pass to Luke Morgan was slightly too high, forcing the winger to check his momentum and allowing the defence to reorganise. The ball was then intercepted by Cardiff but they were instantly pinged for holding on, gifting Murphy an easy shot at goal and getting the Ravens on the scoreboard.
This seemed to spur the Ravens on and they embarked on a series of good attacking moves, culminating in a kick and chase by Chris Williams which saw the scrum half yanked down without the ball. There was no card for the offending Cardiff player but Murphy kicked the resulting penalty, reducing the gap to three points as the sides heading back to the changing rooms for the break.
Half-time: Cardiff 9 – 6 Bridgend Ravens
Five minutes after the interval, the scores were level at nine-all. A kicking battle resulted in a Cardiff knock-on on their own ten metre line. The resulting scrum collapsed and Murphy sent the penalty through the sticks from distance.
Cardiff regained the lead with a quarter of the game remaining and then looked to have sealed the victory soon afterwards. Centre Richard Smith spotted a gap and darted through, showing a good turn of pace to outrun the covering defenders and touch down between the posts, with Griffin again on target to add the extras.
But the visitors didn't lie down and some strong forwards work from a five metre line-out drove Ravens' man of the match Waite over the whitewash for his first professional try. Bridgend then made five substitutions in the hope that fresh legs would have an impact but Cardiff held firm to take the points.