Bridgend Ravens secured a Principality Premiership West double over Neath with victory at the Gnoll on Friday night.
Both sides lacked clinical finishing throughout the first half, as both let try scoring chances go begging. Ed Howley and Ryan Evans traded penalties for a three all halftime scoreline.
HT Neath 3-3 Bridgend Ravens
An immediate impact from new signing Jonathan Phillips helped Bridgend bag the first try of the match. A half break and offload from the lively Phillips set Bridgend away down the wing. The visitors were held up over the line and a succession of five metre scrums ensued.
Neath were shown a yellow card as Bridgend began to dominate at the scrum. The try eventually arrived with Adam O'Driscoll barging over out wide, Ryan Evans’ conversion drifted just wide.
The Ravens then struck for a try of the season contender starting with a lineout on their own 22. Some magnificent offloading and direct running, Ryan Evans and Mike Powell gained good metres. Powell was involved a second time in the attack to latch onto another offload to round under the posts and get the finish the flowing move deserved. Evans converted for a 12 point Bridgend lead heading into the last quarter.
Neath hit back as the final ten minutes approached. David Griggs broke into the 22 and was able to gallop over. Howley sent the conversion wide leaving a seven point gap between the sides with 10 to play.
Late in the match the Welsh All Blacks fought hard, looking to snatch an unlikely draw. A penalty kicked five metres out with time up would test the Ravens resolve, but the visitors maul defence, much improved on last week, held out the Neath drive and forced a turnover which saw Bridgend secure a vital victory and guarantee themselves at least three points when the Principality Premiership merges with one match in the West Division to spare.
Bridgend Ravens Supporters Man of The Match - Nathan Edwards