Bridgend Ravens lost out to Llandovery at a rain soaked Riverside Hardware Brewery Field on Saturday.
The game was a drab affair, ruined by handling errors and persistent penalties. The Drovers played the conditions better, but the Ravens will be disappointed that they did not get more out of the clash.
The game started at a rapid pace, with the only points coming from the boot of James Garland to give the visitors the lead. Attacking opportunities were at a premium for the home side, with Jamie Murphy and Ashley Evans having to kick Bridgend clear of danger on more than one occasion.
As the half drew to a close, Captain Jon Vaughan was replaced by Arthur Ellis following a reoccurrence of a shoulder problem sustained last Friday against Ulster Ravens. Bridgend had to dig deep, with the wind advantage going the way of Llandovery. Garland failed to punish Ravens indiscipline with all but the final action of the half.
HT: Bridgend 0-3 Llandovery
The second half saw more of the same, as the battle with the elements continued. Robin Lock replaced the injured Nathan Edwards during the interval, and Bridgend now had the wind in their favour.
Some excellent work from Andrew Waite, stealing possession as Llandovery seemed certain to score, gave Bridgend an attacking platform and visibly lifted the supporters. A series of set pieces in Llandovery territory failed to materialise into any points.
As the Drovers got clear, a break by their backline was halted by an exceptional challenge from Arthur Ellis, right on the try line. The Cardiff University student sprinted thirty yards to chase down his opponent and save his side further misery.
James Garland again put a kick wide as the wind and rain caused havoc to the goal kicking success rate. Garland did dominate the territorial game, with kicks to the corner and a clever chip which was dealt with by Tom Grabham.
Soon after Llandovery made their dominance pay. Jack Roberts was rewarded for his persistence and he just about crossed over the line. Garland added the extras to provide the visitors some breathing space on the score board.
Bridgend refused to lie down, and fought hard to get back into the tie. Some positive backs play saw a surge up field, but the final pass was just behind impressive number 8 Lloyd Evans. Minutes later, similar flowing play from the backs saw Tondu product, Tom Grabham, find his way to the whitewash out wide. Jamie Murphy put a tricky conversion wide of the uprights.
It seemed as though the Ravens could steal it, but it was Llandovery who would come closest to scoring in injury time. Rhodri Williams somehow sliced an attempt at goal wide from in front of the posts.
From the resulting drop out, Bridgend looked to snatch an unlikely victory. A few unforced errors saw the game come to an end, with the Ravens coming away with a losing bonus point.
Bridgend Scorers: Try: Tom Grabham (73).
MOTM: Chris Williams.