A last penalty gave Cardiff a loosing bonus point as Neath won their first game at the Arms Park in five seasons.
On a cold and windy night the opening exchanges were dominated by the visitors, only resolute defence kept them at bay, and after five minutes of all out attack Cardiff were awarded a penalty that enabled them to clear their line.
With cold hands and a strong wing to contend with there was little in open play in the first quarter. The only real pointy of note in was referee James Jones using the first two of his eventual four yellow cards for a bout of handbags near the Cardiff line.
James Thomas eventually used the wind to the visitor’s advantage, sending over a short-range penalty to give them the lead. The Blue & Blacks didn’t leave it too long to respond. Hustling the Neath defence caused panic and the ball was lost into Blue and Black hands. From there it was recycled and moved wide where Grant Harrington was able to get a long pass-basketball style- to Jimmy Norris who scored near the posts. Gareth Davies, playing his 100th game in Blue and Black added the simple conversion.
Thomas narrowed the scores by adding his second penalty before Neath took the lead again. Referee Jones deemed a kick through had been carried over the line and awarded a five-metre scrum, from which Tom James was able to scramble over with a little ‘help’ from his back row. Thomas added the extras to give them a 13-7 half time advantage.
The second half was all about controlling the elements. Cardiff had the better of the fist quarter of the half but the only reward for their effort was a Davies penalty. The visitors looked comfortable playing into the wind, and took control of the last period. Several drives towards the Cardiff line had to be repelled, but eventually the defence was breached as Ross Davies scored under the posts. Thomas converted.
The Blue & Blacks threw everything at Neath to try to get back into the game. Only a forward pass denied Steve Taylor, but the bounce of the ball never really favoured the home side. A penalty two minutes from the end gave Davies a chance to give the home side a bonus point. He duly landed his kick, but the game ended in disappointment as Neath held on.