Bridgend Ravens claimed an important five points at the Gnoll with a bonus point victory over fellow Premiership strugglers Neath at the Gnoll on Saturday afternoon.
It was another black day for the Welsh All Blacks as Bridgend gave themselves some breathing space amongst the relegation mix.
The hosts got the first score of the game after 12 minutes. Some weak Bridgend defending saw Jordan Collier touch-down. Thomas missed the conversion.
The lead didn’t last long however as four minutes later Mike Powell went over in the corner. Dixon added the conversion to give the Ravens a lead they would never relinquish.
A second in quick succession saw the Ravens stamp their authority on the match. A strong maul powered forward and the ball was spread wide. Ross Jones went over in the corner and an excellent conversion from Dixon gave the Ravens a two score lead.
Multiple scrum offences saw the referee head to his pocket, showing both Cai Lewis and Neath’s Aaron Coundley yellow.
Neath fly-half James Thomas knocked over a 38th-minute penalty - that was answered during stoppage-time by opposite number Dixon – as the Ravens led 17-8 at the break.
HT: Neath 8-17 Bridgend (1-2T).
Neath started the second half on the front foot, reducing the deficit to just a point. Scrum half Rhodri Cole scoring and unconverted try early on. Dai Langdon, taking over the kicking duties for the hosts, then slotted a penalty.
The Ravens upped the tempo, scoring two tries from driving mauls as the visiting forwards became dominant. Ashleigh James went over after 56 minutes, Dixon missed the conversion. Olly Cracknell went over 10 minutes later, the conversion was sent just wide.
Scott Otten’s late score for the Hosts, converted by Langdon, set up a frantic end to the match. Neath were pressing for a score to snatch a late win but the Ravens defence held out to claim a vital bonus point win.
Tries: Mike Powell, Ross Jones, Ashleigh James & Olly Cracknell. Penalty: James Dixon. Conversions: James Dixon (x2).
Report by Chris Edmunds.