Bridgend 26 Swansea 23
By: Paul Hopkins
Swansea suffered a third successive league defeat of the season in heart-breaking fashion as Bridgend claimed a penalty try with the last play of the game.
The Ravens were handed an early penalty chance when the Swansea forwards piled over the top of a ruck, but winger Will Holley hit the post.
A good lineout take by lock Tudor Hughes on the twenty-two saw the Whites’ pack maul forward. Winger Ryan Griffiths sprinted towards the line, but was tackled a couple of metres short, before centre R Rhys Williams dummied over for the opening try. Full back Owen Howe converted.
Lock Shaun O’Rourke burst through the middle, but was hauled down by a determined Swansea defence, although they gave away a penalty, which fly half Jamie Murphy kicked to the corner.
Swansea gave away four successive penalties near their own line and referee Dan Jones’ patience finally gave as he sent prop Greg Cunniffe to the sin-bin.
This time the Ravens opted for a scrum five, but lock Chris John spilled the ball forward and Swansea were able to clear. However, the clearance kick only found full back Tyler Williams, who set up another attack from deep, though Swansea again managed to turn over possession and Howe clearly his lines emphatically.
Hooker Gareth Harvey almost broke a tackle in the twenty-two, but Swansea managed to defend. Bridgend earned another penalty when the visitors’ defence killed the ball. Finally scrum half Chris Williams was able to fire out a killer pass to flanker Adam O’Driscoll, who scored in the corner. Holley missed the conversion.
O’Rourke stole a crucial lineout on the twenty-two and the Ravens used number eight Dafi Davies as a battering ram, although the visitors’ defence stood firm. Chris Williams held on after the tackle though and Swansea were able to clear.
Tyler Williams and centre Morgan Jones injected pace into the Bridgend attack, and the Whites’ defence crept offside in midfield, giving Murphy another kick to the corner, but a short throw by Harvey gave Swansea a free kick.
Tyler Williams lost his bearings and ended up holding on after the tackle. Howe chose to kick at goal but his effort fell well short of the posts.
Swansea had the final attack of the half as centre J Rhys Williams made a break, and he found winger Andrew Claypole on hand to score. Howe missed the conversion.
Half-time:- Bridgend 5 Swansea 12
Jones failed to take a charged down kick, and the ball spilled loose, allowing Swansea to attack at pace from deep. Howe and Ryan Griffiths linked up well, before hooker Paul John squeezed over for a try. Howe missed the conversion.
J Rhys Williams plucked a high ball out of the air and raced through the middle, but he threw a pass to Ravens’ Chris Williams, who cleared.
The home side were back on the attack and a patient build up by the forwards saw Murphy ease over for a try under the posts. Holley converted.
Flanker Tom Morgan was penalised for holding on after the tackle and Howe punished the home side with a successful kick at goal.
Ravens camped on the Swansea line in what seemed an age before replacement hooker Iestyn Merriman dived over for a try. Holley converted.
Fly half Foard Cooksley darted through the middle and found replacement centre Gareth Rees in support, and the Bridgend defence was penalised for offside in midfield. Howe kicked the penalty.
A high tackle by the Ravens gifted Swansea another penalty and Howe kicked to the corner, although the Ravens managed to steal the lineout and clear.
With time running out the Ravens had no option but to run from deep, but it was a charge down that gained them territorial advantage as brave work by Rees forced a lineout on the twenty-two.
Chris John collected the lineout and the Ravens’ forwards inched closer to the line and Paul John was yellow carded for killing the ball. The home side opted for a scrum five, but were held up over the line.
From the second scrum an advancing Bridgend pack earned a last gasp penalty try to clinch victory at the death.
Full-time:- Bridgend 26 Swansea 23
Tries:- Adam O’Driscoll (30), Jamie Murphy (53), Iestyn Merriman (62), Penalty try (80+9)
Cons:- Will Holley (54, 63)
Tries:- R Rhys Williams (8), Josh Guy (40+5), Paul John (47)
Cons:- Owen Howe (9)
Pens:- Owen Howe (59, 65)
Yellow cards:- Greg Cunniffe (20), Paul John (80+4)
Venue:- Brewery Field
Referee:- Dan Jones
Weather:- Light cloud, 15C
Man of the match:- Shaun O’Rourke
15 Tyler Williams
14 Aaron Grabham
13 Morgan Jones (rep: Stuart Floyd-Ellis 50)
12 Nathan Edwards ©
11 Will Holley
10 Jamie Murphy
9 Chris Williams
1 Ollie Evans (rep: Rhodri Apsee 48)
2 Gareth Harvey (rep: Iestyn Merriman 57)
3 Cai Lewis (rep: Garyn Daniel 60)
4 Chris John
5 Shaun O’Rourke (rep: James Little 76)
6 Tom Morgan (rep: Owain Lloyd 68)
7 Adam O’Driscoll
8 Dafi Davies
16 Iestyn Merriman
17 Rhodri Apsee
18 Garyn Daniel
19 James Little
20 Owain Lloyd
21 Dan James
22 Ryan Evans
23 Stuart Floyd-Ellis
15 Owen Howe
14 Ryan Griffiths
13 R Rhys Williams (rep: Gareth Rees 63)
12 J Rhys Williams
11 Andrew Claypole
10 Foard Cooksley
9 Josh Guy
1 Tom Sloane (rep: Jack Powell 76)
2 Paul John
3 Greg Cunniffe (rep: Tom Harper 76)
4 Tudor Hughes
5 Owen Morgan (rep: Duane Eager 41)
6 Jon Vaughan (rep: Tom Harper 21-33, Ben Davies 63)
7 Callum Bowden (rep: Sion Jones 80+5)
8 Jon Fox ©
16 Sion Jones
17 Jack Powell
18 Tom Harper
19 Duane Eager
20 Ben Davies
21 Tom Ham
22 Luke Griffiths
23 Gareth Rees