By: Paul Hopkins
Bridgend comfortably won the Ospreys derby match as they ran in 17-3 winners over Swansea in difficult conditions at the Brewery Field.
The Whites began the match on top and lock Shaun O’Rourke collected a lineout and the backs got quick ball out wide, but the Ravens managed to deal with winger Gareth Rees’ chip through and were able to clear.
A solid lineout take by number eight Guido Volpi sent the Whites on another attack and a Matt Aubrey box kick found touch inside the home twenty-two. A mistake by lock Jack Pope at the lineout gave Swansea an attacking scrum though.
Volpi peeled off the back of the scrum, but the supporting lock Jay Williams was penalised for holding on after the tackle.
The home side mounted their first notable attack with scrum half Connor Tantum making a half break over the twenty-two, but support was too slow to arrive and the visitors were able to clear the danger.
A clever Aubrey grubber kick was fumbled by Tantum, giving Swansea an attacking scrum seven metres from the try line. An infringement at the scrum by the Ravens’ pack allowed fly half James Davies to kick his side into a 3-0 lead.
From the restart winger Andrew Evans charged down an attempted clearance by Aubrey, but luckily for him the ball spun into touch. Bridgend were soon back on the attack with full back Travis Huntley making good yardage through the middle, but a poor grubber kick by centre Brad Roderick was easily defused by the Whites’ defence.
Flanker Rob Dudley Jones and Pope powered over the twenty-two and the visitors had no option but to slow down play, albeit illegally. Full back Owen Howe chipped to the corner, but Jay Williams nipped in to steal the lineout.
Howe was handed a chance to level the scores when the Swansea defence killed the ball, but his effort at goal fell well short of the posts.
Full back Josh Thomas dropped a high ball under little pressure to hand Bridgend another attacking platform. Dudley-Jones charged up to the twenty-two and the visitors were penalised for failing to allow centre Nathan Edwards to get up after the tackle. Howe missed a second kick at goal, this time from a relatively straightforward position.
After a long spell of defending a superb touch finder by James Davies gained important territory for the All Whites. A good link up between Volpi and Owen Thomas almost created an opening for the visitors, but the hooker was penalised for holding on after the tackle.
Half-time:- Bridgend 0 Swansea 3
Howe looked to make up for his two missed penalties with a 70 metre wind-assisted clearance kick that penned Swansea back inside their own twenty-two.
Tantum picked up a loose ball and almost squeezed through a gap on the wing, but was brought down a few metres short of the line. Fly half Jacob Chilcott tried to go on his own, but was promptly turned over as the attack came to an end.
A poor handling error by Aubrey under no pressure gifted Bridgend a scrum five. He paid the ultimate price when winger Dewi Cross popped up in midfield to crash over for a try under the posts. Howe converted.
The try seemed to give the Ravens a renewed impetus, helped by a poor clearance kick by James Davies that sailed out on the full. Offside by the visitors saw Howe turn down a kickable penalty, instead opting to chip to the corner.
Flanker Dafi Davies took the lineout and Swansea were penalised for dragging down a maul. This time Howe kicked the three points.
A superb break by Volpi momentarily relived the danger for Swansea, but a turnover saw Chilcott kick deep into visitors’ territory.
The Ravens came close to adding a second try after a catalogue of errors, but replacement flanker Jon Fox managed to get back to scramble the ball dead for an attacking scrum five. An unstoppable drive to the line saw substitute number eight Ryan Hall dive over for a try. Howe converted.
Full-time:- Bridgend 17 Swansea 3
Tries:- Dewi Cross (51), Ryan Hall (76)
Cons:- Owen Howe (52, 77)
Pens:- Owen Howe (59)
Pens:- James Davies (18)
Venue:- Brewery Field
Weather:- Light rain showers, 8C
Man of the match:- Jacob Chilcott
15 Owen Howe (rep: Julian Mogg (80+4)
14 Andrew Evans
13 Brad Roderick
12 Nathan Edwards ©
11 Dewi Cross (rep: Caine Woolerton 53)
10 Jacob Chilcott
9 Connor Tantum (rep: Tom Ham 80+1)
1 Owen Jordan (rep: Rhodri Apsee 62)
2 Gareth Harvey (rep: Iestyn Merriman 66)
3 Cai Lewis (rep: Adam Court 80+1)
4 Jack Pope
5 Ben Jones (rep: James Little 79)
6 Dafi Davies
7 Rob Dudley Jones
8 Travis Huntley (rep: Ryan Hall 74)
16 Iestyn Merriman
17 Rhodri Apsee
18 Adam Court
19 James Little
20 Ryan Hall
21 Dan James
22 Julian Mogg
23 Caine Woolerton
15 Josh Thomas (rep: Ryan Griffiths 71)
14 Gareth Rees
13 Phil Jones
12 Rhys Williams (rep: Jack Evans 66)
11 Nathan Trowbridge
10 James Davies
9 Matt Aubrey (rep: Tom Ham 50)
1 Tom Sloane (rep: Rhys Davies 70)
2 Owen Thomas (rep: Shawn Howard 70)
3 Greg Cunniffe (rep: Dean Howells 64)
4 Shaun O’Rourke (rep: Owen Morgan 77)
5 Jay Williams ©
6 Will Jones (rep: Jon Fox 53)
7 Callum Bowden
8 Guido Volpi
16 Shawn Howard
17 Rhys Davies
18 Dean Howells
19 Owen Morgan
20 Jon Fox
21 Tom Ham
22 Ryan Griffiths
23 Jack Evans