Bridgend 35-44 Pontypridd

Bridgend Ravens picked up a valuable bonus point in an agonising home defeat against Pontypridd.

Bridgend knew they’d need a big performance to bounce back from a tight defeat at Ebbw Vale last time out, which they duly provided for their home supporters, crossing for five tries. The fast and open game, relentless at times, swung both ways and it was Pontypridd who took the honours- and all five points.

It was a fast start and Bridgend were the first to benefit despite spending most of it on the back foot. A well weighted kick through from Stuart Floyd Ellis bounced into the hands of Aaron Grabham who showed fine pace to cross out wide. Holley converted.

Ponty’s pressure was rewarded with a penalty from Ceri Sweeney soon after, but Jamie Murphy, bundled his way through the Pontypridd midfield to get Bridgend’s second which Holley converted.

Bridgend’s early dominance continued as Aaron Grabham, again benefitting from a neat kick behind outpaced the covering defence to dot down. Showing excellent form from the tee, Holley put over another conversion.

Pontypridd weren’t going to lie down and struck back quickly with a try from Cardiff Blues’ Ben Jones. Sweeney converted to pull Pontypridd back into the game.

The electric pace continued and Corey Howells, playing his first game back after a long injury lay off, crossed for an impressive score. Sweeney’s conversion brought an end to a pulsating first forty.

HT: Bridgend 21-17 Pontypridd

Ben Jones’ class showed early in the second half as he created a try for scrum half Jaime Hill within sixty seconds of the restart which was converted by the evergreen Sweeney.

Bridgend’s 18 point lead had been totally wiped out and it was Pontypridd who would pull away as the impressive Howells got his second of the afternoon. Enjoying a fine afternoon, Ceri Sweeney added the extras. Shortly after, he added a penalty to stretch the visitor’s advantage to 13 points.

It appeared that Pontypridd would pull away, particularly when Adam O’Driscoll was shown a questionable yellow card by referee Aaron Parry.  But this Bridgend side refuse to lie down and after a slick break from Stuart Floyd Ellis, Connor Tantum raced under the sticks to give his side hope with a converted score.

In difficult times, you need your big characters to stand up and skipper Nathan Edwards duly delivered. With Pontypridd launching a fresh attack, the centre nipped in and raced in for the Ravens fifth try. The see saw encounter took another twist with Holley putting Bridgend back ahead with the conversion.

The game was far from over, and as Bridgend seemed to have kept Pontypridd at bay, Jaime Hill was able to nestle through the home defence and score what would turn out to be the decisive try. Sweeney’s boot added the conversion, and a late penalty to secure an away win and take away what would have been a second losing bonus point for Bridgend.