Bridgend Ravens battled hard but fell just short to an
experienced Pontypridd side in the penultimate group match of the Fosters
Challenge Cup at the Bridgend Ford Brewery Field.
Pontypridd opened the scoring with less than ten minutes played. Lock Shaun O’Rourke was able to slide over out wide with veteran Ceri Sweeney, influential all afternoon, able to add the conversion. Bridgend looked to be up against it early on as the visitors added a second try with just 15 minutes played. Dale Stuckey went over following a flowing move. Sweeney again able to add the touchline conversion.
The Ravens built their way back into the game, a combination of Forward power and excellent back skill saw Ryan Griffiths dive over. Joseph Scrivens added the conversion to narrow the gap to 8.
The hosts piled on the pressure, hunting for a score to draw level. Multiple phases edged Bridgend into the Pontypridd 22 where the visitors indiscipline led to the Ravens securing a lineout close the the Ponty line. Further penalties against Pontypridd five metres out saw the Ravens continue to hammer away looking for the vital score. Matthew John was able to barge over from close range with five minutes remaining in the first half to close the gap to two. Scrivens’ conversion attempt was just wide to leave the Ravens trailing at the break.
HT Bridgend Ravens 14-16 Pontypridd RFC
Pontypridd looked to stamp their authority on the match early on in the second half following a Ravens mistake, knocking the ball on in their own 22. The hosts scrum responded with a great shove but Ponty were able to claw the ball away into midfield. Dafydd Lockyer’s offload allowed Ceri Sweeney to dot down under the posts. The Fly Half converted his own score.
The Bridgend scrum proved influential once again as the Ravens struck back almost immediately. A great break from Ryan Griffiths ended with the winger being held up in the tackle, Pontypridd winning the scrum seven metres from their own line. A huge Bridgend shove won the ball against the head and Ashton Evans was able to crash over. Scrivens slotted the conversion.
As the game ebbed and flowed, Pontypridd struck for their bonus point try. A poor clearance from Bridgend allowed the visitors to run back with interest. Dan Godfrey was awarded a try as he drove over the line. Sweeney converting again.
The Ravens enterprising approach led to multiple chances just metres from the visitors line. The home side were unable to convert despite their attractive style of play, as Pontypridd held out for the remainder of the match. Bridgend were forced to finish the game with just 13 players due to injuries to Ryan Griffiths and Ashton Evans - both influential throughout the match for the Ravens. With the gaps in the Bridgend defence, Pontypridd mustered another score as the clock turned red. Chris Clayton raced away into the corner for the visitors fifth score of the afternoon. Sweeney's conversion was sent wide.
The hosts were unlucky not to come away with anything from the match as a much improved performance from Bridgend saw the Ravens fall just short against a strong, experienced Pontypridd side.