Bridgend Ravens secured a sensational victory over title chasing Bedwas at the Riverside Hardware Brewery Field on Saturday.
The first half was a horror show for the home side, although it started on a positive note with Wales Under 20’s star Ashley Evans crossing after cutting a superb angle.
From then on, Bedwas showed why they are fighting at the upper echelons of the league ladder. Ethan Davies sliced a penalty wide, before slotting one to bring the visitors back into it. Following this, Newport Gwent Dragons player Lewis Robling attempted a long range shot to give his side the lead, but it fell inches wide.
The pressure continued to mount, and Stuart Thomas raced in for a try for Bedwas, which Ethan Davies successfully converted. Minutes later, Lewis Robling slotted another kick from distance, although the penalty was only awarded by one of the officials. Referee Greg Morgan believed he had seen enough to award the points, and Bedwas seemed out of sight. It was a controversial decision.
Bridgend needed to show determination, and this arrived soon after. Jamie Murphy, who had an excellent game from full back, scored a lovely try following some exceptional work from the impressive Lloyd Evans. Again, the conversion was wide, but Bridgend could see a way back into the game after scoring twice from two attacks.
The end to end tie was to explode into life at the back end of the period. Bedwas seemed certain to score, but second row James Thomas fumbled with the line at his mercy. Following this, captain Tom Grabham broke away for the Ravens, but somehow spurned a three on two overlap, as the hosts seemed certain to score.
Typically, Bridgend were to regret this. Josh Davies took a quick tap and dived over from close range to reassert his side’s dominance. The conversion was successful, and Davies added a penalty just before the whistle to give his side a huge lead.
HT: Bridgend 10-23 Bedwas.
The spirit of this Bridgend Ravens side cannot be questioned. The second half saw a fight back and determination that the home crowd expected from their side. With the scrum now well on top, Lewis Williams kicked a penalty within a minute of the restart. Immediately after, Jamie Murphy missed a long range attempt, but this failed to dampen the spirits of Ben Rose’s side.
Ashley Evans made a sensational break, before an exchange of passes with the impressive Nathan Edwards. This saw a try for Edwards out wide in the corner. Another conversion was put wide by Bridgend, and they now wondered how they were still behind.
Bedwas had no such problems from the tee. Despite spurning two clear overlaps, Ethan Davies restored a comfortable lead for the Gwent side.
The missed opportunities were to be rued by Bedwas, as Ashley Evans danced his way through several challenges before finding his way to the line. This time Lewis Williams kicked the conversion, and the game was on a knife edge with twenty minutes left.
With the home support now firmly behind their side, the scrum dominance paid off and Bridgend earned a penalty. Lewis Williams slotted the points to give his side the lead.
The final minutes were dominated by Bridgend defence. Bedwas somehow failed to score, with Jon Vaughan and Arthur Ellis putting in stunning last ditch tackles to halt the advances. Bridgend almost secured it, after Lloyd Evans knocked on in the act of scoring, but it did not matter, as Bridgend held out for a much needed victory.
Bridgend Scorers: Tries: Ashley Evans (2), Jamie Murphy, Nathan Edwards. Conversion: Lewis Williams. Penalties: Jamie Murphy, Lewis Williams.