Bridgend Ravens put in a determined performance to take a losing bonus point from Church Bank in a defeat to Llandovery on Saturday afternoon.
The Ravens were leading at half time by 14 points to 3, but a second half comeback from the West Walians gave them the league double over Bridgend. The point takes Bridgend seven points clear of the drop zone, with defeats for Newport and Neath over the weekend.
Bridgend headed to Llandovery in a confident mood following 3 wins in their last 3 matches despite a heavy 48-13 home defeat to the opposition in the reverse fixture earlier in the season. Both teams started tentatively, sizing each other up. It was the home side that edged the possession and territory in the early exchanges.
The first points of the match came with nearly 25 minutes on the clock. A scrum for the hosts just outside the Ravens 22 was disrupted by the Bridgend pack and Adam O'Driscoll stole the ball. The openside offloaded to Chris Williams who made good ground before seemingly being wrapped up, but managed an offload to flyer O'Flaherty. The Ravens winger had the pace to touch down out wide and Dixon landed the conversion for a 7-0 lead.
Bridgends second try followed shortly after the first as Chris Williams touched down under the posts. A turn-over from Chris Lewis saw the centre charge up field. A good scramble in defence from the Drovers brought Lewis down short of the line but an excellent support run from the ravens scrum half saw Williams get the visitors second try of the match. Dixon added the simple conversion for a 14 point lead with half an hour gone.
With two minutes remaining in the half, James Garland landed the hosts' first points of the match with a neatly struck penalty.
HT Llandovery 3-14 Bridgend.
The hosts responded well and got their first try with just three minutes of the second half played. Rhodri Jones got under the posts for the score to leave a simple conversion for Garland.
With just 10 minutes of the second half played the deficit was reduced to just one point following another Garland penalty.
Llandovery remained on top, edging closer to the Bridgend line. Owen Howe was shown a yellow card for attempting to steal the ball close the Ravens try line and Garland landed the resulting penalty to nudge the Drovers into the lead for the first time in the match.
The Ravens upped the tempo to compensate for the yellow card, managing to string together their first few significant phases of the half. Bridgend earned a penalty that was slotted by Dixon to give the visitors a one point lead as the final 15 minutes of the match approached.
Just two minutes after Dixon's penalty, Llandovery got what would prove to be the winning score. Poor defending from the Ravens let Garland squeeze over under the posts for a converted try, swinging the Drovers back into the lead.
The Ravens went searching for a try that, if converted, would see them snatch a late victory. The Drovers successfully held out and completed the second half fightback to secure the win as the Ravens took a losing bonus point from Church Bank.