Bridgend Ravens fell to a heavy first defeat of 2015 as Cardiff ran in five tries at the Bridgend Ford Brewery Field with the Ravens scoring two in reply.
Cardiff’s James Whittingham and Ravens’ James Dixon traded early penalties, Cardiff leading 6-3 with 13 minutes on the clock.
Thomas Pascoe got the first try of the match as Cardiff benefited from some poor Bridgend handling. Pascoe went over but fly half Whittingham missed with the conversion. In the build up to the try, perhaps the biggest talking point of the game saw Bridgend’s Mike Powell and Cardiff’s Will Thomas both sent off as punches were traded.
Cardiff restarted the match with a penalty from half way, kicked to touch. Further Bridgend indiscipline handed Whittingham the opportunity to extend the Cardiff lead, which he took. The Cardiff number 10 added another three points from the tee before the visitors finished the first half with a second try. A Bridgend knock on gave the visitors the opportunity to launch a counter attack. Good recycling and a grubber kick behind the Ravens defence allowed Jack Phillips to dive on the ball for the score. Whittingham added the extras to give Cardiff a 24-3 half time lead.
HT Bridgend 3-24 Cardiff
Five minutes into the second half saw Cardiff add to their lead. Bridgend, pressing for some points, threw a wide pass that hit the deck. Fish hacked through and the Cardiff Blue showed he had enough pace to go over for the score. Whittingham added the extras to push Cardiff past the 30 point mark.
Cardiff’s Jack Phillips was shown a yellow card for a dangerous tackle, leaving space around the field which Bridgend were able to exploit. The first try eventually came for the Ravens following some strong forward work. A five metre scrum led to a sustained attack, sucking in the Cardiff defenders. The ball was spread wide and a looping pass, nearly picked off by the final Cardiff defender, landed in Ross Jones’ arms as the fullback strolled over for the score. Dixon missed the conversion but the Ravens appeared to gain confidence from the score.
The hosts got their second try of the game following some sustained pressure in the Cardiff half. A quick tap penalty led to Cardiff hooker Ethan Lewis sent to the bin for failing to retreat 10 metres close to the Cardiff line. The Ravens opted for the scrum and the forwards powered over earning a penalty try as the weakened Cardiff scrum capitulated. Dixon added the conversion as the Ravens hoped to gain something from the game.
It was the visitors that would add to their score next however, as more poor handling from the Ravens proved costly. Dan Fish picked up a Bridgend knock on and sprinted for the line. With Bridgend in all-out-attack mode there were no covering defenders to stop the winger from going over for his second of the match, Cardiff’s fourth. Whittingham added a neat conversion to ensure a Cardiff victory.
The Ravens went close late on a Ross Jones was tackled into touch a metre from the line but it was Cardiff who would cap off a fine display with a sixth try. Following a multiple phase build up, the visitors looped a wide pass out to Ceri Young and the winger was able to glide over for the score. Whittingham added his fourth conversion of the match.
FT Bridgend 15-45 Cardiff