Bridgend Ravens’ team spirit was clear to see as they put together a brilliant second half fightback at the Morganstone Brewery Field on Saturday afternoon, but fell to an agonising two point defeat to Newport, claiming a potentially invaluable bonus point in the process.
A disastrous first half for the Ravens saw Newport build a seventeen points to three lead at the break, despite plenty of endeavour from the hosts.
Four minutes in to the contest, Newport bagged their first try, Chay Smith touching down. The score was converted by Haydn Simons.
Ryan Evans landed a penalty just before the 10 minute mark to get Bridgend on the board, this would end up being the Ravens only score of the half.
Simons added a penalty to reinstate Newport's seven point lead. Bridgend then went in search of a try of their own, both Owen Thomas and Ben Jones got to within inches of the line but Newport held out.
A second try for the visitors arrived shortly before halftime. Too much space in the wide channels saw Newport break into the Ravens 22, Josh Skinner was in support to round under the posts. Simons converted.
HT Bridgend Ravens 3-17 Newport RFC
Bridgend outscored their opponents by 12 points to nil in the second half, despite losing replacement Jamie Murphy to the bin with less than a minute of the half played. Newport broke as Bridgend failed to deal with a clearance kick, and Murphy conceded a penalty on the Ravens line. Bridgend dug deep and kept the visitors out despite their excellent field position and man advantage.
Bridgend were made to work incredibly hard for their first try of the match, and it finally arrived at the hour mark. A huge Maul effort from the pack saw Supporters Man Of The Match Jordan Collier awarded the try. Ryan Evans landed the conversion.
The Ravens struck for a second try just five minutes later, turning defence into attack in an instant. A turn over on halfway was gathered by Chris Williams and the Scrum Half raced over for the try. The conversion to level the score was sent just wide, and Bridgend set about finding a winning score as we entered the final 10 minutes.
Bridgend’s initial wave of attack saw them make good ground deep into the Newport 22, but the visitors held out, awarded a scrum just 6 metres out. Bridgend relished the opportunity and drove the Black And Ambers off their own ball in impressive fashion, but referee Ben Breakspear awarded Newport the penalty and the visitors cleared.
As the clock ticked into the red, again Bridgend breached the Newport 22 with a sustained attack. Newport showed incredible heart defensively to halt the Ravens’ forward momentum and Jamie Murphy sat in the pocket awaiting his opportunity to drop a goal. With little go forward the ball was sent back to Murphy for what would seal a sensational comeback, however the replacements attempt was wide of the mark and Bridgend had to settle for a losing bonus point.