Bridgend Ravens maintained their current playoff place with a hard fought 33 point to 26 bonus point victory over Cardiff despite playing the best part of 50 minutes with 14 men following a red card for back row Tom Morgan at the Bridgend Ford Brewery Field.
Both teams came out looking to play positive rugby with ball in hand, but it was Bridgend that struck first following some neat interplay that set Tom O'Flaherty away down the wing. Murphy added the conversion.
Cardiff hit back immediately with a try of their own as the Ravens failed to take the kickoff. Following some good phase play, Cardiff Wing Cameron Gibbon was as to squeeze over out wide. A missed conversion from Jarrod Evans left a two point gap between the sides with 18 minutes played.
Bridgend then added two quick fire tries, the first a product of the Ravens high defensive work rate, turning the ball over in the Cardiff 22. Eddie Drake bagged his first try in Bridgend colours, reaching out to dot down on the line. Just two minutes later, the Ravens were over again following a powerful run from Tom Morgan. The flanker was eventually stopped but the skillful offload handed Jamie Murphy a simple run in score. Murphy converted both scores.
An almost faultless first half performance was blighted close to the halftime whistle when Tom Morgan was shown a red card following an off the ball incident. Cardiff managed to grab a second try with the clock in the red as Cardiff Blues' Harri Millard broke through the Ravens defence.
HT Bridgend Ravens 21-12 Cardiff RFC
The second half started at a blistering pace with three tries in the opening seven minutes. Cardiff struggled to complete their exit from the Bridgend kickoff and the Ravens made them pay. Matthew John made good ground from the back of a retreating scrum. Slick hands from Connor Tantum and Jacob Lloyd set Mike Powell away down the wing and the flyer had the pace to dive over in the corner.
The Blue and Blacks hit back 4 minutes later with a score from Will Rees-Hole. Mike Powell looked to have kept the ball in play following a penalty kick to touch but Cardiff were awarded the lineout and were able to crash over from close range.
It took the Ravens just a minute to again stretch their lead thanks to another poor kickoff exit from the visitors. Bridgend built through the forwards, dragging in defenders, before Connor Tantum sniped over from close range.
Cardiff added a fourth try as the match passed the hour mark, replacement Rhys Carre drove over to set up a nervy final 15 minutes for the home side. Bridgend fullback Mathew Edwards twice lined up 50+ m penalty attempts to try to stretch the Ravens lead away from the seven point mark, and whilst the distance was no problem both penalties slipped passed the left upright.
A yellow card for the visitors as the clock ticked towards 80 minutes ended any Cardiff hopes of completing the fightback, and the Ravens held out for a vital bonus point victory as the race for the playoffs heats up.
After an impressive start to the match from Bridgend, it looked like only one team could win. A red card for the hosts evened the match up a bit but the 14 men of Bridgend upped their work rate and played with passion to hold out, whilst adding a couple more tries with the man disadvantage to secure a vital five point win and leave the home fans with something to cheer in the last regular season home game of the season.