Bridgend Ravens got their season off to a flyer with a hard fought 17-15 win against Neath at The Gnoll in the B&I Cup Qualifier.
Captain Ashley James was the hero with a late, late try for the injury hit Ravens which was converted by James Dixon, who contributed with a personal haul of 12 points on his first game back in Ravens colours.
It was a first half to forget for the Ravens, who conceded an early penalty to Neath's Dai Langdon. Minutes later, James Dixon replied for Bridgend - but this was as good as it got in the first forty for the away side.
Neath were camped in the Bridgend half for the remainder of the period, and their persistence was rewarded with a try through Langdon, which he converted himself.
HT: Neath 10-3 Bridgend
The second half saw a total change in momentum in the game. Before the Ravens battled back, Dale Ford crossed for a score which seemed to take the game away from the visitors. However, Bridgend attacked with renewed vigour, and levelled on the board through an opportunistic score from James Dixon. He converted his own try to set up an exciting last thirty minutes.
It was to be a long wait for the winner to be decided though, as each side spurned numerous opportunities to win the game.
In the ninth minute of injury time, played out after a nasty injury to Sam Treharne, Ashley James crossed under the posts, to give Dixon an easy shot at winning the game. He took it, and Bridgend progress to the next round of BIC qualifying, against Swansea or Aberavon next Saturday.
Bridgend: Tries: James Dixon (48), Ash James (89). Conversions: Dixon (49, 90). Penalty: Dixon (4).
This match report was written on IT software provided to Bridgend Ravens by our official IT supplier Aspect.