Bridgend Ravens earned another hard-fought home victory, this time against Neath at the Morganstone Brewery Field.
The victory, Bridgend's second in three games, was their third win over the Welsh All Blacks this campaign and pushes them up a place in the current standings with games in hand.
Indiscipline from both sides resulted in three yellow cards and two reds throughout the match, with Neath Wing Jordan Condon sent to the bin after just four minutes. Ed Howley edged the visitors into a three point lead, the only score of the opening quarter, as Bridgend failed to take advantage of the extra man.
Bridgend went on to dominate the remainder of the first half and with just over twenty minutes played, the Ravens’ opening try arrived. Strong carries into the Neath 22 got Bridgend within 5 metres where Cai Lewis was able to drive over for his first try in the famous blue and white jersey, carrying three defenders over the line with him. Jamie Murphy added the extras.
At the half hour mark, with Bridgend again within five metres of the Neath line, the referee halted play and consulted his assistants. Red cards were shown to Bridgend’s Adam O'Driscoll and Neath’s Leon Ward following a scuffle, before The Ravens restarted with a scrum which saw Nathan Edwards crash over.
HT Bridgend Ravens 12-3 Neath RFC
An early yellow card shown to Captain Zach O'Driscoll proved costly for Bridgend as the Welsh All Blacks went on to score two tries, converting one for a three point lead with less than 10 minutes of the second half played.
Bridgend showed they had the quality to grind out a win, with Jamie Murphy nailing three penalties to push the Ravens out to a six point lead. A nervy final few minutes l had the crowd on the edge of their seats as Neath attacked late on, but the Bridgend defence shut down everything Neath had to offer, securing a vital victory which saw Bridgend climb to 13th in the table with two games in hand on Swansea in 12th position.