Bridgend Ravens were left to rue what might have been after letting a first half lead slip to lose to Neath in the early kick off on Saturday.
Bridgend raced out of the blocks and asserted their dominance early on. Tom Grabham, returning to scrum half, assured there was quick ball and spread the ball to Jamie Murphy who played in Rhys Ward Jones to score in the corner. Lewis Williams pushed the conversion wide.
As the half wore on, Bridgend continued to dominate and the backs really benefitted from the quick ball that Grabham and the back row were providing. Glen Lewis and Robin Lock both came close, as did Jon Thomas with a forward drive.
It was Neath who were to pull closer on the board, as Dean Cummins kicked them back into the game with a well struck penalty.
The kick rejuvenated the Blacks, who played with a renewed confidence and came close through Bowdy Davies.
That was to be as close as they got for the half however, as a lightning break from Lewis saw Bridgend win a penalty out wide. The resulting shot at goal hit the post, as Jon Vaughan and Nathan Edwards following in forced a scrum under the sticks. The pack drove through and the referee awarded a penalty try to extend the home sides lead, and reward their dominance.
HT: Ravens 15-3 Neath (2-0T).
Neath started the second half as the Ravens started the first: with a try. Roy Jones bundled over from close range after a series of line outs. Dean Cummins put the conversion wide of the posts.
Bridgend responded immediately. Straight from the kick off, Neath were penalised and Lewis Williams kicked the penalty.
After that, it was all Bridgend with Jamie Murphy and Lewis Williams kicking the All Blacks back into their own territory with superb accuracy. There was to be a dramatic twist though..
Neath were able to cement possession in some meaningful territory, and after some pressure Lee Davies was yellow carded. Soon after, Lee Evans scored after pressure close in to set the game on a knife edge. Cummins added the extras.
Bridgend held firm in the face of adversity, but after Tom Morgan was carded for a swinging arm, they were left with it all to do.
As the Neath pack drove close to the line, they were awarded a penalty try. Cummins converted.
The home side tried to get back into it, as Grabham came close. But the flow of the game was disrupted as Ravens hooker Gary Carpenter left the pitch with a serious injury.
Bridgend: Tries: Ward Jones, Penalty Try. Conversion: Williams. Penalty: Williams (2).
Neath: Tries: Jones, Evans, Penalty Try. Conversions: Cummins (2). Penalty: Cummins.
MOTM: Glen Lewis. Attendance: 357.