Bridgend Ravens kicked off the 2015/16 season with an impressive comeback against Swansea at the Bridgend Ford Brewery Field.
The Ravens needed a strong second half performance to secure a winning start to their preseason campaign as they overturned an 18 point half time deficit to beat regional rivals Swansea by 31 points to 25.
Bridgend struggled to match The Whites during the first half as the lack of match practice showed. Swansea's Ian Brookes scored the first points with a penalty after a scoreless opening quarter, and continued to add to the scoreboard as the half went on.
The visitors flyhalf went on to score the games first try, adding the conversion, followed shortly by a second penalty goal.
Swansea got their second try as halftime approached. A turnover, deep in their own half, allowed Richard Thomas to go the length and touch down.
HT Bridgend Ravens 0-18 Swansea RFC
The Ravens worked hard in the early minutes of the first half to launch a comeback. Just five minutes into the half saw Swansea's Matthew Davies sent to the sin bin. Bridgend opted to scrum against a weakened Swansea pack and Number 8 Scott Hicks barged over for the Ravens first score of the match. Ryan Evans added the conversion.
The turning point of the match came shortly after the first of the Ravens scores. Steff Jones was shown a straight red card for Swansea to leave the visitors with 14 men for the remaining 25 minutes having dropped a swinging elbow into a Bridgend player.
Bridgend started to show their ability with ball in hand. A turn over at halfway saw the Ravens spread the ball from one wing to the other. An inside pass allowed debutant Jack Pring to slide over as the hosts continued to chase down Swansea's first half score.
Bridgend had a clear advantage in the scrum throughout the second half, and it was the scrum that let to the Ravens third try. Won against the head, in the Swansea half, Bridgend worked their way toward the Swansea line. A short pass metres from the line allowed another debutant to add their name to the score sheet as Joseph Gatt touched down. Evans added the conversion to edge the Ravens into the lead for the first time.
Bridgend continued to play attractive, positive rugby. Steven Winn found a gap in midfield and kicked deep. David Evans was able to chase the ball down and dive over for the hosts fourth try.
With five minutes remaining, the Ravens made sure of the win with a second try from Pring. Some magnificent handling in midfield allowed Bridgend to exploit a big overlap. An inside flick allowed Pring to score and cap a fine debut from the former South Wales Scorpions man. Ryan Evans added the conversion to take Bridgend to a 13 point lead.
An excellent try saving tackle from David Evans was in vain as Swansea were to have the last say of the match. Two phases later a penalty try was awarded for a tackle off the ball. The conversion was added to bring Swansea's total to 25 points.
Bridgend put a disappointing first half behind them to win the second half 31-7. They'll be looking to continue the fine form into Tuesday evenings game against Maesteg Harlequins at the Bridgend Ford Brewery Field (7:15pm).