By: Paul Hopkins
A James Davies interception in the last play of the game gifted the All Whites victory over bottom side Bridgend at a sunny but cold Brewery Field.
Swansea began in a nervous fashion with full back Gareth Rees forced into a hurried clearance after he dealt with a tricky Jamie Murphy chip ahead. During the same phase the visitors gave away an early penalty for offside at the ruck, which Jamie Murphy converted through the posts.
A clever delayed pass by fly half James Davies found Rees as the Whites looked to hit back and the visitors were awarded a penalty when the Bridgend pack failed to roll away from the breakdown.
James Davies kicked for touch and lock Jay Williams took the lineout with both centre Kieran Charles and hooker Owen Thomas close to scoring before play was brought back for a Swansea penalty. James Davies hit the post from a relatively straightforward position.
Winger Dewi Cross made a break on the wing and found lock Hemi Barnes, who powered forward, but in the following phase of play, Jamie Murphy lost possession in the tackle.
The All Whites took the lead when Thomas made a typical break through the middle, finding prop Tom Northy in support, before great work by the Swansea forwards created space out wide for winger Harvey James to exploit an overlap to score a well worked try. James Davies converted.
The Swansea pack gave away a penalty at the scrum and Jamie Murphy found touch on the 22. Prop Cai Lewis managed to grab hold of a misfiring lineout, but full back Tyler Williams and centre Joseph Gatt were penalised for crossing in midfield.
The visitors were penalised for failing to roll away after a tackle and Jamie Murphy again found touch inside the Swansea 22. The lineout didn’t quite go to plan, but the Ravens were awarded a penalty from a retreating Whites scrum shortly after. Jamie Murphy’s effort at goal sailed through the posts.
Williams’ clearance kick spiralled horribly out on the full to give Swansea a first attacking chance for a while, but Jay Williams was unable to take the lineout. Instead, flanker Zac O’Driscoll charged into the visitors’ territory, but Jamie Murphy’s chip ahead was grounded dead in goal.
A clever pass to Bowen Davies almost saw the lock break through a tackle, but in the next phase winger Cameron Ellis dropped the ball under pressure to give the Whites some much needed relief.
On the half hour mark the Ravens gave away a penalty at the breakdown and James Davies chipped into the 22. A better lineout this time saw the visitors maul to within five metres of the line with Thomas stopped just short. Offside in the Bridgend defence gifted James Davies an easy three points.
An outstanding 50/22 kick by scrum half Connor Tantum from his own 22 gave his side another attacking opportunity just before half time. A delayed pass by James Davies found Jay Williams, but he was unable to offload to lock Huw Sutton for what would have been a certain try.
James made a mess of a difficult pass, gifting Bridgend possession inside the 22. The Ravens looked to have scored out wide through Ellis, but Jamie Murphy’s pass was adjudged forward.
Play was brought back for a penalty to the home side and captain O’Driscoll curiously opted for a scrum. It proved to be the wrong decision as his side was penalised for dragging down the scrum before the ball was even put in.
Half-time:- Bridgend 6-10 Swansea
In a difficult start to the second half James Davies chipped a kick out on the full from near his own 22. The Ravens were unable to capitalised as hooker Gareth Harvey’s throw to Bowen Davies was crooked.
A miscued high kick by Tantum gifted the home side with an attacking platform. Replacement flanker Morgan Strong got quick ball out of the scrum and sent the ball out wide for Cross to sprint over for a try at the corner. Jamie Murphy converted.
Rees made a superb break through the middle but his final pass was intercepted by Ellis. The visitors managed to counterattack through lock Matt Dodd and Thomas though and were awarded a penalty after the Ravens’ defence failed to roll away after the tackle.
James Davies found touch inside the Bridgend 22 with the penalty and Jay Williams took the lineout, but the Ravens were able to steal possession in the maul.
The home side were penalised for straying in front of a Jamie Murphy high kick and James Davies made them pay with a successful penalty goal.
Ellis almost scored in the corner but was unable to collect his own chip ahead, but play was brought back for a penalty following an off the ball challenge on replacement number eight Rob Dudley-Jones. Substitute centre Paul Short kicked his side back ahead with a successful effort at goal.
Short kicked up to the 22 with a penalty touch finder and from the lineout the Ravens got quick ball out wide, but Williams dropped a crucial pass.
The Ravens were awarded a scrummaging penalty with six minutes left on the clock, but Short missed his effort at goal.
Bridgend’s second try came from a moment of magic by Dudley-Jones, who burst through a tackle, finding Lewis in support, who handed a scoring pass to replacement scrum half Dai Pritchard. Short converted.
Rees tried to race out of defence but became isolated with the Ravens able to secure a turnover. Bridgend’s spell of possession didn’t last long though as Sutton burst out of a ruck to score and give the visitors a lifeline. James Davies converted.
With the last play of the game a horrendous error by Pritchard gifted Swansea an unexpected victory as he threw a bizarre pass that was intercepted by James Davies who scored under the posts for a try that he also converted.
Full-time:- Bridgend 23-27 Swansea
Tries:- Dewi Cross (48), Dai Pritchard (76)
Cons:- Jamie Murphy (49), Paul Short (77)
Pens:- Jamie Murphy (3, 22), Paul Short (65)
Tries:- Harvey James (10), Huw Sutton (80), James Davies (80+3)
Cons:- James Davies (11, 80+1, 80+4)
Pens:- James Davies (33, 62)
Venue:- Brewery Field, Bridgend
Weather:- Sunny, 8C
Referee:- Elgan Williams
Man of the match:- Huw Sutton
15 Tyler Williams
14 Cameron Ellis
13 Joseph Gatt
12 Nathan Edwards (rep: Paul Short 63)
11 Dewi Cross
10 Jamie Murphy
9 Harvey Nash (rep: Dai Pritchard 71)
1 Owen Jordan
2 Gareth Harvey (rep: Lee Murphy 80+2)
3 Cai Lewis (rep: Adam Court 80+2)
4 Hemi Barnes
5 Bowen Davies
6 Travis Huntley (rep: Morgan Strong 47)
7 Zac O’Driscoll ©
8 Dafi Davies (rep: Rob Dudley-Jones 63)
16 Lee Murphy
17 Gareth Hall
18 Adam Court
19 Ross Fox
20 Rob Dudley-Jones
21 Morgan Strong
22 Dai Pritchard
23 Paul Short
15 Gareth Rees
14 Harvey James (rep: Liam Popham 53)
13 Osian Knott (rep: Liam Edwards 69)
12 Kieran Charles (rep: Hanno Dirksen 63)
11 Llien Morgan
10 James Davies
9 Connor Tantum (rep: Chris Morgans 55)
1 Tom Northy (rep: Tom Sloane 47)
2 Owen Thomas (rep: Garan Williams 55)
3 Jordan Pritchard (rep: Owen Peddle 59)
4 Matt Dodd ©
5 Huw Sutton
6 Jay Williams
7 Callum Bowden
8 Charlie Davies (rep: Billy Moxey 60)
16 Garan Williams
17 Tom Sloane
18 Owen Peddle
19 Liam Edwards
20 Billy Moxey
21 Chris Morgans
22 Liam Popham
23 Hanno Dirksen