Bridgend produced an accomplished team performance and claimed five points as Merthyr visited the Bridgend Ford Brewery Field for the first time as a Principality Premiership club.
The Ironmen, coming into the match second in the table having lost just one of their opening seven league fixtures, would have been eyeing a seventh consecutive win in all competitions but the resolute Bridgend defence together with an instinctive, exciting attacking display helped the hosts secure the bonus point victory to extend their recent winning run, making it five from their last five.
A tense opening quarter left little to choose between the sides before a Joseph Scrivens penalty in the 18th minute helped open the game up, where Bridgend were able to take full advantage. As the 20th minute arrived, the Ravens managed to grab the first try of the match. A perfectly placed chip from Jamie Murphy allowed Ryan Griffiths to race after the ball in the Merthyr 22, the flyer got a toe to the ball to kick further ahead and dive over the line to score. Scrivens added the conversion for a 10 point lead heading into the final 20 of the first half.
Matthew Jarvis landed the visitors first points with a penalty but it didn’t take long for Bridgend to again add to the scoreboard. Mike Powell fielded a clearance kick and launched the Ravens counter. Will Baird made good ground into the Merthyr 22 and managed to offload to Joseph Gatt, the centre was able to dot down under the posts. Scrivens again added the conversion as Bridgend took control of the tie.
A yellow card apiece following some handbags saw Zac O'Driscoll and Gareth Davies sent to the bin. Joseph Scrivens landed a second penalty at the stroke of halftime to extend the hosts lead, leaving a seventeen point cushion for Merthyr to overcome if they were to get anything from the game.
HT Bridgend Ravens 20-3 Merthyr RFC
Bridgend raced out of the blocks at the start of the second half adding a third try with just a minute on the clock, Ashton Evans launched a stinging attack following a poor Merthyr clearance. The Number 8 kicked behind the covering defenders where Owain Lloyd was able to ground the ball. Scrivens again added the conversion, and Bridgend had a great opportunity to go in search of the bonus point try with the majority of the second half still to play.
The outstanding Bridgend defence was eventually broken as speedster Elis Wyn Benham broke clear to race over. Jarvis added the conversion hoping to kick start the Ironmen and get them back into the game, but the conversion would turn out to be the visitors last points of the match.
Scrivens added his third penalty of the match before a breakaway score secured the bonus point victory for the Ravens. Merthyr, on the attack, threatened to exploit an overlap but Michael Powell had other ideas, the flyer pounced on a pass to ground in the Bridgend 22 and raced towards the try line. Powell managed to evade the last gasp tackle attempt and was able to stroll home to touch down under the sticks. Scrivens added the conversion to give the Ravens an unassailable 27 point lead heading into the final 10 minutes.
Bridgend Ravens Supporters man of the match, Joseph Scrivens, rounded off a fine performance from the hosts with a wide long range penalty effort. The penalty brought up 40 points and a personal tally of 20 for the Fly Half.
A complete performance from Bridgend helped secure an excellent bonus point victory over high flying Merthyr, the Ravens well drilled defence barely gave an inch and a scintillating attacking display gave the passionate home crowd plenty to cheer.