2003/2004 WRU National League
Cardiff 37 v 32 Bridgend
11 February 2004 - Taffs Well RFC, Taff's Well
Bridgend Ravens

Match Report

Cardiff 37 Bridgend 32

In one of the great games of the season Cardiff came back from the dead in the final quarter to claim another victory, their fourth in a row.

A pulsating counterattack in the fourth minute of added time, launched by the piratical Dan McShane and carried on through several pairs of hands as the Blue & Blacks kept the ball alive, ended with Stephen Ireland crossing for his team’s sixth try and a famous win.

It was the perfect end to a marvellous evening of entertainment with the Taffs Well club proving to be great hosts. A crowd of 600 might have feared the worst in the early stages when errors outnumbered skills.

But the quality was soon to step up several gears. The opening score came in the tenth minute when outstanding centre Liam Roberts broke through and Wayne Murphy drove over for the try.

Seven minutes later Bridgend stole the lead when Cardiff lost their own 5-metre scrum and Richard Bryan scored a try converted by Austin Howells.

The Blue & Blacks hit back with another unconverted try in the corner by McShane only for the Ravens to draw level with a Howells’ penalty goal. In first half injury time Simon Grainger claimed Cardiff’s third unconverted try for a 15-10 interval lead. That was wiped out within seven minutes of the restart as Paul Jones and Aisea Havili punished Cardiff turnovers with two long-range tries.

When Anthony Carter scored another Bridgend try the lead had stretched to 29-15 in favour of the visitors and there seemed no way back for Cardiff.A Chris John penalty goal gave some hope and then Leon Andrews executed a perfect switch pass for Elgan Jones to race over at the posts and John converted. Murphy added his second try after a catch and drive to regain the lead at 30-29 with nine minutes left.

Three minutes from the end of normal time Howells kicked a penalty goal to put Bridgend 32-30 ahead. Surely that was the end - but Cardiff never gave up. Two attacks were halted close to Bridgend’s line and an attempted drop goal sailed wide.

Then McShane and his merry men mounted one last attack and the winning score, converted by John, was a fitting end to a great evening.