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.

TEAM P W D L PF PA PTS
Cardiff 8 8 0 0 196 112 36
Pontypridd 8 5 0 3 192 174 24
Aberavon 7 5 0 2 135 118 22
Merthyr 8 4 0 4 179 179 21
Rygbi Gogledd Cymru 1404 7 4 0 3 161 142 19
Carmarthen Quins 6 4 0 2 134 110 18
Newport 7 3 0 4 152 139 18
Llandovery 5 2 0 3 124 112 12
Swansea 7 2 0 5 113 133 12
Llanelli 6 2 0 4 112 158 10
Ebbw Vale 7 1 0 6 142 194 8
Bridgend Ravens 6 1 0 5 89 158 6