There was a deluge but thankfully no deja-vu at Newbridge as the glue-pot Welfare Ground pitch survived 80 minutes-plus of rugby and, at the third attempt, the fixture was completed.Abandoned inside half-an-hour in October, postponed in January, and now played despite the pre-match downpour,
Cardiff finally overcame Newbridge in the scrappiest of matches. How the Blue & Blacks came away with a winning margin of a paltry one score will remain one of the mysteries of this stop-start season. Referee Peter Rees of Llandovery almost blew the home side off the pitch with a penalty count of 17-7 in Cardiff's favour but only one yellow-card after a catalogue of persistent infringement.
The only player despatched to the sin-bin was centre Paul Jones in the 64th minute for the latest in a series of late tackles but even then Cardiff failed to exploit the gaps in midfield. They naively allowed themselves to be trapped in contact situations. That was understandable in the first half with Ryan Price claiming the first try in the fifth minute from a text-book lineout catch and drive. The same ploy worked in the second half with replacement Adam Powell claiming the touchdown.
But the leaf should have been taken out of the book of the second try, finished off by Nick Gill out wide with James Malpas providing the scoring pass. That had given the Blue & Blacks a 12-point lead but sloppy play allowed the home side to equalise with tries of their own from Craig Blunsdon and Anthony Wilkshire, the first converted by Ross Watts.
Two penalty goals either side of the interval by Chris Anderson restored Cardiff's lead, and Powell's try stretched the gap to 23-12. Then the Blue & Blacks went to sleep at a lineout on their own line. A magnificent try-saving tackle by Elgan Jones deserved a better reward than Newbridge lock Paul Watkins collecting the resulting throw-in unmarked to flop over for a try that Watts expertly converted.Tied back to 23-19,
Cardiff couldn't afford any further slip ups. Another Anderson penalty goal settled the nerves a bit, though the fly-half missed a sitter from in front of the posts as the final quarter was played out to a cacophany of whistling by a nervy referee but with no further scoring.
The win was hard-earned with the downside being an injury to James Malpas in the 48th minute.