2005/2006 Principality Premiership
Cardiff 20 v 24 Bridgend
17 September 2005 - Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff
Bridgend Ravens

Match Report

Cardiff 20 Bridgend 24

In recent seasons Cardiff have developed the agreeable habit in home matches against Bridgend of snatching victory with late rallies. Unfortunately, history didn't repeat itself this afternoon as a ten-point interval deficit proved too big a gap to overhaul.

The Ravens failed to add any points in the second half but, from Cardiff's point of view, the damage had been done in the first 40 minutes - or to be more precise the second quarter. An early 14-3 lead, well-earned by dint of some particularly creative running, was surrendered thanks to slipshod ball retention and the return of the spectre of missed tackles in midfield.

Acting skipper Richard Jones deserved better. His own defence was solid, never better illustrated than early in the piece. No sooner had he recovered from a swinging up around his head from his opposite number than he was back on his feet executing a test-book tackle of his own that stopped a Ravens' player  in his tracks.

The earlier high tackle had gone unpunished by a referee who brought a cavalier interpretation to what constituted advantage to the non-offending side. Too often and too quickly Mr Hayes signalled  'advantage over', especially in the first half. Yet it has to be conceded that thoughout the game the penalty count was heavily in Cardiff's favour.

The root of Cardiff's problems lay in the inability to translate territorial advantage into points. Yet the game had unfolded well for them in the early stages. Though their first forays deep into the Ravens' half failed to disturb the scoreboard (albeit the Egyptian hyroglyphics still on display), reward for Blue & Blacks enterprise eventually materialised in the 18th minute.

Elgan Jones side-stepped in trademark fashion off the right touchline for the again impressive Chris Stamatakis to be on hand and race the final 20 metres for the opening try. Chris Anderson converted and though Gareth David slotted a 35-metre penalty goal for the visitors no alarm bells were ringing. Far from it in the 26th minute when Gavin Vaughan-Evans poached a Bridgend ball on the deck and the backs were sent away to the left. Into the line came Leon Andrews and inside him was Elgan Jones after another mazey run and a thrilling converted try.

There the fun and games ended. Bridgend scored three tries in the final 13 minutes of the half: Andrew Joy burrowed over from a maul; Mark Roper pounced on loose ball from a Cardiff scrum; and, worst of all, Chris Tossell cut the midfield defence for another score. David's three conversions stretched Bridgend's lead to an unlikely 24-14 at the break

The second half started more promisingly. Another Elgan Jones surge put Wayne Murphy clear only for him to be overhauled with the line at his mercy. Two Anderson penalty goals gave some hope but, in the final analysis, the cutting edge was missing and Bridgend escaped with the spoils.