Bridgend Ravens
2008/2009 Principality Premiership
Bridgend 13 v 20 Cardiff
28 March 2009 - Morganstone Brewery Field, Bridgend

Match Report

Bridgend 13 Cardiff20

It's 10 out of 10 as the winning run continues but more of a case of seven out of 10 for the performance on a wind-swept day that was, at most, a job well done.

Bridgend are never easy opponents for the Blue & Blacks and this was no exception as they went eight points ahead inside the first quarter. But Cardiff, led in the absence of Owen Ruttley and Rhys Shellard by Matthew Veater, didn't panic and in the end their greater attacking intent just about deserved the spoils.
With the strong wind at his back Ravens' centre Gareth Howells badly hooked an attempted penalty goal from 40 metres in the second minute but seven minutes later he was on the scoresheet as a reward for great backing up to take the scoring pass from left wing Dan Connolly for the try. When he then succeeeded with a 30-metre penalty goal in the 18th minute Bridgend could feel well satisfied with their start.

But from that point on the Blue & Blacks suddenly bacame more street-wise with their game management. Instead of aimless kicking into the face of the wind, they now worked their way upfield with ball in hand rugby. Their reward came from quick lineout possession on the left and Nathan Rees' incursion into the number 12 channel opened up the defence and Gareth Chapman crossed half way out on the right. Gareth Davies' conversion reduced the arrears to a single point.

The Blue & Blacks  were also savvy enough to employ the driving maul and when Karl Hocking illegally attempted to stop one that covered all of 20 metres the Ravens were reduced to 14 men for the next ten minutes. But Cardiff failed to take advantage before the interval.
Both sides were back to full strength  early in the second half when Cardiff gained a lead they were never to lose. From a  five-metre scrum Gareth Davies scored and converted a classic fly-half's try as he dummied and darted to score at the posts. Both sides then had players binned in quick succession as first Rhys James and then prop Owain Williams were despatched.

In the 55th minute Davies stetched the lead with a penalty goal but the Ravens had one final threat with a 56th minute try that was born of turnover ball in their own half, a wonderful surge by replacement Matthew Davies, and finished off by Chris Weightman.

Ten minutes from the end Davies kicked his second penalty goal and, though he was wide with a similar effort in the 76th minute, it gave the Blue & Blacks enough breathing space to hold on for that ground-breaking tenth consecutive win that restores them in second place in the Premiership.