Bridgend Ravens 14-35 Llandovery: Poor first-half display proves costly for Brewery Field side

Pic by Richard Early

By Tobias Hunt

Bridgend Ravens’ unhappy new year continued as they fell to their third consecutive defeat of 2020 against a well-drilled Llandovery outfit.

The reverse leaves them anchored to the foot of the Welsh Premiership table with just three wins from 15 matches all campaign.

With time running out, the famous Brewery Field side require a major turnaround if they are to preserve their status in the second tier, something they did in dramatic fashion last term.

Llandovery grabbed their first try of the game, hooker Ricky Guest getting over the whitewash after the Drovers had worked a good lineout shove from a penalty to touch.

Five minutes later full-Back Tomi Lewis broke through the Ravens defence and off-loaded to scrum-Half Dafydd Land. He dived over the try line untouched, with Scott Maynard adding the extras.

Bridgend started playing positively in attack after these early concessions, and were perplexed when a Dewi Cross try – crafted through several impressive phases – was ruled out for an offence at a ruck.

To rub salt in that wound Llandovery extended their lead shortly before half-time with their third touchdown.

It arrived after wing Aaron Warren ran a great angle to take the ball off Land and finish in style. It was a score that left the Ravens with a mountain to climb at 0-21 as the teams went in at the break.

A total rout looked on the cards when the visitors started the second half the same way they finished the first. Quick hands from Alun Rees allowed Tomi Lewis to cross out wide for the bonus point score – and at that stage you feared for the hosts.

But Bridgend never threw in the towel and hard work and improved discipline going into the final 20 minutes was recognised when Llandovery replacement Kristian Jones was yellow-carded after conceding numerous penalties.

The Ravens didn’t take long in making the most of their man advantage. A flat pass from replacement outside-Half Jacob Chilcott sent Brad Roderick under the posts, with Chilcott adding the conversion.

Two minutes later, after good work from Caine Woolerton to keep the ball in play, the Ravens put the ball through a series of hands resulting in Roderick getting his and Bridgend’s second try, improved by Chilcott.

In the last 10 minutes the Ravens piled the pressure on Llandovery, but the strong visitors defence held out.

With the Ravens chasing a losing bonus point, Chilcott’s kick was charged down by Llandovery forward Lewis Ellis-Jones who gathered and scored under the posts.

Bridgend will travel to Sardis Road next Saturday to take on Pontypridd in the league, while Llandovery travel to Aberavon in the quarter-final of the cup.