Cardiff 39 Bridgend Ravens 30

Cardiff went to the top of the league with a bonus point win in an entertaining game at the Arms Park.

The Bridgend Ravens were looking to ease their relegation worries with much needed points and were first on the scoreboard with a penalty from fullback Owen Howe. The visitors were playing at a high tempo and their attacks were having to be fended off keeping the home defence on its toes. Cardiff took the lead after a view from the video referee showed that Will Rees-Hole has managed to ground the ball just before the line. That had followed Joe Gatt pressuring the Ravens defence following a kick through by Edd Howley. The wing was unable to score himself but did enough to stop the Ravens clearing the danger, with Rees-Hole getting his hand on the ball just millimetres from the dead-ball line, Edd Howley added the extras.

That spurred the Ravens into action. Aaron Grabham raced clear to score after a sweeping attack, and when Gareth Harvey crossed the Ravens were in control. Cardiff came back with an individual effort from Howley. As a Bridgend attack was worked towards the Cardiff 22, Howley ripped the ball free and in a flash was through the hole and flying towards the line. No Bridgend player got near him as he scored the try under the posts, that he converted himself. Howe extended the Ravens advantage with a penalty before Cardiff got their third try. This time a series of attacks put them deep in the Ravens half and when the ball was swung blind Edd Howley burst towards the line. Great Bridgend cover brought him down but Cardiff recycled for Martin Roberts to put Mathew Powell into the narrowest of gaps to touch down. Howley was unsuccessful from the touchline but as the whistle sounded for half-time the Blue and Blacks were in a better position than had seemed likely after half an hour of play.

The Blue and Blacks came out with purpose at the start of the second half and within a few minutes they had the lead when Howley slotted a penalty . The bonus point arrived when excellent play from Fish and Rees–Hole allowed Gatt the space to dive over. Bridgend were not prepared to roll over and Grabham scored his second try when a Cardiff attack broke down and he outpaced Howley to just beat the despairing tackle of the full-back. At 27 points each going into the final quarter Cardiff applied the pressure and after a driving line out (which resulted in Bridgend flanker Adam O’Driscoll being yellow carded) Cardiff used the same tactic from the penalty to drive hooker Kirby Myhill over for the try. Another penalty for the Ravens kept them in touch but another driving maul allowed replacement hooker Ian Jenkins to power over. Cardiff almost scored another try in the last couple of minutes, but after being set free by Callum Bradbury just inside his own 22 Morgan Allen didn’t quite have the legs to beat the covering defence and was brought down agonisingly short of the Ravens line.

Merthyr 30 23 0 7 885 593 117
Cardiff 30 22 1 7 991 660 111
Pontypridd 30 22 0 8 1015 580 110
Llandovery 30 21 1 8 856 551 104
Ebbw Vale 30 20 1 9 762 594 95
Aberavon 30 18 2 10 698 603 90
Newport 30 17 2 11 759 700 88
Rygbi Gogledd Cymru 1404 30 14 1 15 852 650 85
Swansea 30 16 0 14 674 594 81
Carmarthen Quins 30 13 1 16 637 584 71
Bridgend Ravens 30 12 0 18 689 714 66
Llanelli 30 12 1 17 679 723 63
Bedwas 30 12 1 17 681 830 62
Cross Keys 30 5 1 24 586 1093 36
Bargoed 30 6 0 24 576 1003 35
Neath 30 1 0 29 406 1274 3