By: Paul Hopkins
The All Whites fell to a disappointing loss at the hands of Bridgend in a dull affair at the Brewery Field.
Defeat for the St Helen’s side means they are likely to need to win their remaining three matches to have any chance of qualifying for the end of season playoffs.
The home side began the stronger side and fly half Jacob Lloyd kicked to touch from a penalty. Lock Kyle Maiden collected the lineout and flanker Tom Morgan powered forward to set up an attacking platform. Jacob Lloyd made a break to within five metres of the line, but the Whites’ defence failed to roll away after the tackle. Centre Jamie Murphy kicked the penalty goal.
Winger Tom O’Flaherty fumbled a ball under pressure near his own line, but opposite number Will Lewis failed to take advantage as he inadvertently kicked possession dead.
A collapsed scrum by the visitors gifted Bridgend a penalty, but this time Murphy dragged his effort wide of the posts.
Swansea then went on the attack with the pack driving forward and scrum half Matthew Aubrey dummying showing a neat dummy to race through a gap. However, the supporting number eight Jon Fox lost the ball forward under pressure.
Winger Mike Powell made a break from a lineout and found Morgan in support. The pack mauled forward, but were held up over the try line.
Full back Matthew Edwards made a complete mess of dealing with a chip through by fly half Phil Jones, but superb defence by the home side forced a relieving penalty.
Murphy fielded a loose kick by full back Josh Martin and raced up to the twenty-two, with prop Garyn Daniel in support. The ball was swept out wide to O’Flaherty, and he cleverly offloaded to Murphy, but the centre stepped into touch.
The Whites had the last chance of the half when Jones kicked to the corner from a penalty. However, the pass from Aubrey to centre Jedd Evans was deemed forward.
Half-time:- Bridgend 3 Swansea 0
Following a lacklustre first half, the home side upped the ante after the interval with scrum half Connor Tantum making a half break, forcing Swansea offside in midfield. The Ravens’ pack piled on the pressure, but centre Joseph Gatt was dragged down out wide and the move came to an end.
Bridgend threatened again when a superb break by Edwards up to the Whites’ twenty-two was supported by Powell, before hooker Iestyn Merriman powered towards the line. He was stopped by lock Tudor Hughes, who came from an offside position and was promptly shown a yellow card. The Ravens failed to take advantage of the situation by losing the ball forward at the scrum to the delight of the away replacements behind the line.
With 61 minutes on the clock the home side finally got the game’s first try when O’Flaherty picked up a loose ball, handed off five weak Swansea tackles and threw an inside pass for Powell to score. Murphy missed the conversion.
O’Flaherty made another break through the middle, but his long, floated pass to Edwards was deemed forward by referee Simon Rees.
Jones was penalised for holding onto possession after the tackle when trying to run out of defence and Murphy punished him with a successful penalty goal.
With one minute of normal time remaining Murphy extended his side’s lead to 14 points with a penalty goal after the Whites crept offside at a ruck.
The Ravens sealed an impressive victory deep inside injury time when Gatt and Morgan cut through a tired Swansea defence and sent Murphy over for a try. He failed to convert.
Next up for Bridgend is a home match against Cardiff, while Swansea travel to Llanelli.
Full-time:- Bridgend 19 Swansea 0
Tries:- Mike Powell (61), Jamie Murphy (80+4)
Pens:- Jamie Murphy (8, 69, 79)
Yellow cards:- Tudor Hughes (59)
Venue:- Brewery Field, Bridgend
Referee:- Simon Rees
Weather:- Sunny, 14C
Man of the match:- Tom Morgan
15 Mathew Edwards
14 Tom O’Flaherty
13 Joseph Gatt
12 Jamie Murphy (c)
11 Mike Powell (rep: Garin Lougher 80)
10 Jacob Lloyd
9 Connor Tantum (rep: Will Baird 73)
1 Eddie Drake (rep: Cai Lewis 41)
2 Iestyn Merriman (rep: Jake Lewis 80)
3 Garyn Daniel (rep: Oliver Evans 75)
4 Jack Pope (rep: Owain Lloyd 51)
5 Kyle Maiden (rep: Shaun O’Rourke 65)
6 Tom Morgan
7 Gareth Beer
8 Matthew John
16 Jake Lewis
17 Oliver Evans
18 Cai Lewis
19 Shaun O'Rourke
20 Owain Lloyd
21 Will Baird
22 Garin Lougher
23 Daniel Howells
15 Josh Martin
14 Adam Parry-Williams
13 Ryan Evans
12 Jedd Evans (rep: Ewan Gully 75)
11 Will Lewis
10 Phil Jones
9 Matthew Aubrey (rep: Martin Luckwell 70)
1 Tom Sloane © (rep: Richard Murphy 75)
2 Ricky Guest (rep: Alex Dunham 70)
3 Mitchell Walsh (rep: Dan Kenny 70)
4 Tudor Hughes
5 Matt Dodd (rep: Gavin Ronan 78)
6 Rory Gallagher
7 Jack Perkins (rep: Jon Vaughan 62)
8 Jon Fox
16 Alex Dunham
17 Dan Kenny
18 Richard Murphy
19 Gavin Ronan
20 Jon Vaughan
21 Martin Luckwell
22 Rory Garrett
23 Ewan Gully