Aberavon qualified for the British and Irish Cup after a thrilling clash with Ospreylian rivals Bridgend at the Talbot Athletic Ground.
Bridgend surrendered a handsome 19-8 advantage to lose 35-26 to their regional opponents and hand the Wizards lucrative trips to Gala, Leeds and Bristol this campaign.
It was a ferocious start, with Aberavon crossing early on through Dan Davies. Jamie Davies kicked a penalty to give his side an extended lead.
As the game seemed to be getting away from Bridgend, they raced into a healthy lead. Nathan Edwards made a scintillating break, showing full-back Jon Phillips the outside to score in corner. Lewis Williams landed an excellent touchline conversion on his return to the side.
The rest of the half was dominated by the visitors. The vocal travelling support would have been encouraged by the high speed back play on show from Ben Rose’s side. They were to reap the rewards of good ball retention, as Jamie Murphy bundled his way through a number of flailing Wizards tacklers to score on his return to the Talbot Athletic Ground. Again, Williams landed the conversion to give his side the lead.
That was not it for Bridgend. Lightning winger Ashley Evans capped a fine half for the Ravens, finishing off a good team move to put Bridgend well into control.
HT: Aberavon 8-19 Bridgend Ravens
The second half was one of total contrast. Aberavon raced back into the game with tries from Stefan Andrews, Richard Thomas and a late match winner from sub Aaron Jones. These efforts sandwiched a second try from Ravens Nathan Edwards, which was converted by Williams.
Bridgend were left stunned by a fantastic comeback from their regional opponents, but will be encouraged by the first half performance – along with the four tries that they scored at a notoriously tricky ground. Attentions now turn to the league, with Bridgend hosting Carmarthen Quins in the league opener next Saturday at the Brewery Field.
Bridgend Scorers: Tries: Nathan Edwards (12, 59), Jamie Murphy (19), Ashley Evans (30). Conversions: Lewis Williams (15, 19, 60).
This match report was written on IT software provided to Bridgend Ravens by our official IT supplier Aspect.