Bridgend Ravens secured their first five points of the season thanks to a hard fought bonus point victory over Newport at the Bridgend Ford Brewery Field.
Newport started the stronger, and earned themselves two shots at the Ravens goal early on. Both attempts missed by fullback Geraint O’Driscoll.
Newport got their first points after 9 minutes. A third attempt at goal from O’Driscoll gave the visitors a 3 point lead.
The Ravens looked good with Ball in hand and a penalty at scrum time put the visitors under pressure. Some talking back to the referee by Newport gave Bridgend a good opportunity to kick for goal. Ryan Evans lined up a kick at the posts, but missed the target.
It didn’t take long for Bridgend to score their first points of the game. Thomas O’Flaherty went over in the corner after a great Bridgend attack. A wide pass nearly was nearly intercepted by Newport’s O’Driscoll, but a juggle from the fullback saw O’Flaherty steal the ball and touch town in the corner. The conversion was missed.
Just a couple of minutes later, Matthew Dwyer went over for Bridgend’s second try of the game. A big maul from an attacking lineout saw the Ravens drive all the way to the try line and the hooker was able to touchdown. This time Howe slotted the conversion.
Newport attacked the Bridgend defence well. A great break by Hewitt led to some panic in the Bridgend defence. Scrambling hard, a high tackle from Habberfield led to the scrum half being shown a yellow card as well as a penalty to Newport 10 metres out. Newport kicked to the corner and a strong drive saw loose head Pattison score the visitors first try of the match. Fullback O’Driscoll kicked the conversion after 36 minutes.
Bridgend did not let the player disadvantage affect them as they pushed for a try before the break.
The Ravens kicked a penalty to touch 7 metres out and a superb lineout was hauled in and a driving maul set up. Dai Barry broke away over the line to notch the Ravens third try of the game. Howe added an excellent conversion to give Bridgend a nine point lead.
Newport looked to end the first half on top as they went searching for a score. Quick thinking from Newport No 8 Sam Freehan saw the visitors score an important try just before the break. O’Driscoll converted to bring the visitors within two points.
The players looked to be heading for the changing rooms but the officials decided there was still time to continue playing. Newport looked to capitalise and attacked the Bridgend line. In an attempt to slow the ball down, Kyle Evans knocked on. Deemed to be deliberate, the Ravens lock saw yellow and Newport had a great chance to snatch a lead at the break. A straight forward kick gave Newport a 19-20 halftime lead.
HT Bridgend 19-20 Newport (3-2T)
The opening of the second half was edgy and passed without score before Newport were able to add to their lead twenty minutes into the second half. James Monk scored the visitors third try of the match following another strong rolling maul from Newport. O’Driscoll missed the conversion.
The Ravens continued to play attractive, attacking rugby. A great counter attack from O’Flaherty saw the winger make good yards before Mike Powell took the ball into contact. A good offload saw Marc Thomas run through a gap in the Newport defence and excellent support running from Tom Morgan saw the centre score under the posts. Owen Howe converted to give Bridgend the lead back with 15 minutes left of the match. Morgan’s score also meant Bridgend were guaranteed their first point of the season.
Owen Howe gave the Ravens a four point lead with less than ten minutes remaining when his penalty was slotted between the posts after 72 minutes.
Newport were able to attack the Bridgend defensive line for the remainder of the game but the Ravens kept the visitors out with some impressive choke tackling and strong defending to secure their first win of the season.
Bridgend Scorers - Tries: Tom O’Flaherty, Matt Dwyer, Dai Barry & Tom Morgan. Cons: Owen Howe (3). Pen: Owen Howe.