If Jamie Davies had clung on to a try-scoring pass late on then Neath would have celebrated a victory over Bridgend in this Ospreys basement battle at The Gnoll.
But Davies, who was Supporters Club man-of-the-match, over-ran the ball and with the grassed pass went the destination of the points. But to blame Davies would be churlish, as on the day a more robust and physical Ravens pack held sway.
The Brewery Field boys built early control, and missed out on one decent try-scoring chance following a handling error. But it was the Blacks who hit the front in the 12th minute with driving play of No 8 Steffan Jones bang on.
Fellow back row man Jordan Collier collected the ball, 20 metres out, and the Ospreys forward broke clear to claim a try. But the biggest mystery of the day surrounded starman Collier touching down halfway out when he could have run around under the posts.
As it was, fly-half James Thomas fluffed the conversion and in the context of a tight game two valuable points went begging. But the lead only lasted four minutes, a break from Bridgend centre Steve Winn set up an overlap try for wing Mike Powell that fly-half James Dixon improved on.
Soon after it was the turn of Bridgend centre Adam Williams to make the cut, resulting in a corner try for full-back Ross Jones. Fly-half Dixon landed an excellent touchline conversion to extend the lead to 14-5. On the half-hour, continual scrum offences led to Neath prop Aaron Coundley and opposite number Cai Lewis seeing yellow.
Neath fly-half James Thomas knocked over a 38th-minute penalty – that was answered during stoppage-time by opposite number Dixon – and Bridgend led 17-8 at the break.
Neath, however, upped the tempo on the resumption, leading to scrum-half Cole dummying over for a try that went unconverted. A Dai Langdon penalty soon followed, reducing arrears to 17-16, but the trend was reversed in the 56th minute.
Former Neath hooker Ashleigh James came off a rolling maul to claim an unconverted try while another driving lineout try came from flanker Oliver Cracknell for 27-16. Back came Neath with a try from replacement hooker Scott Otten (announced replacement Ieuan Dobbs played on permit for Newbridge) goaled by Langdon
Though Neath pressed during time added on, forcing a late five-metre lineout all it produced was a late yellow card for industrious lock Alex Humfrey.
|20/12/2014||2:30 pm||Principality Premiership||2014/15|