Bridgend Ravens fell to a heavy defeat at Neath in the first of their October friendly matches.
With a gap in fixtures, the Ravens headed to the Gnoll to play the first in a string of three friendlies. Coaches Paul Young and Mike Hook made a number of changes from the side that took five points from Newport last time out.
Former Raven Luke Price slotted a penalty from in front of goal to give Neath a 3-0 lead after 10 minutes.
Just a couple of minutes later Owen Howe levelled the scores with a penalty kick of his own.
Neath put the pressure on and won three consecutive penalties five metres from the Ravens line. The third penalty saw Adam O’Driscoll shown a yellow card, and Neath took advantage of the extra man. The penalty, which was kicked to touch, saw the hosts get their first try of the game. A quick drive saw prop Dafydd Hopkins rumble over. Price missed the conversion.
Five minutes later, with the Ravens still down to 14, Dafydd Howells fielded a loose Bridgend clearance and launched a sharp counter attack. A deft chip over the Ravens defence from the hosts’ fullback saw him break away. A couple of broken tackles allowed Howells go over in the corner. Price converted as half time approached.
HT Neath 15-3 Bridgend (2-1T)
The second half started slowly, as both teams made multiple handling errors. It was Neath who managed to get the first points of the second half with over 60 minutes on the clock.
As Bridgend tried to get some forward momentum, a wide pass was intercepted, and Neath nearly scored a long distance try. Some tremendous scramble defence from the Ravens forced a knock on and the visitors managed to clear. It was from the lineout that Neath were able to go over for their third try of the game. The lineout was taken quickly and a gap in the Ravens defence saw Neath make the break that led to a Scott Otten try. Price landed the conversion to give Neath a 19 point lead.
Bridgend were able to work their way into the game, as Neath prop Gareth Thomas was shown yellow for a high tackle. Some strong attacking from the Ravens saw Chris Williams, Adam Williams and Andrew Waite all come close to getting the Ravens first try of the match. It was Neath, however, that were able to add to their lead.
Back to full a full compliment following the sin bin, Neath scored their fourth try of the match. Replacement Gerwyn Price went over and Luke Price added the extras with 10 minutes left to play.
Bridgend were able to grab a late consolation as Owen Howe touched down with 80 minutes on the clock. Howe missed the chance to convert his own try as the Ravens fell to a hefty first friendly defeat.
FT Neath 29-8 Bridgend (4-1T)
Bridgend Scorers: Try: Howe Pen: Howe
(Report: Chris Edmunds)