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Neath RFC

In the midst of Welsh rugby mayhem, Bridgend and Neath did their best to provide a distracting aside in Saturday’s Premiership with the home side bossing the second-half to claim the spoils.

On a blustery day of drizzly showers, the opening exchanges were fairly even but on 12 minutes Bridgend took the led through a try by skipper Zak O’Driscoll which outside-half Jamin Hodgkins converted.

Neath’s patient build-up through several pairs of hands saw them respond with a neat try by winger Ryan Griffiths and the Blacks kept up the momentum to add a penalty by outside-half Kristian Jones.

Impressive close-range driving work by the Neath forwards led to the Blacks extending their lead, skipper Ryan Evans careering over at the posts for Jones to convert and at 15-7 Neath supporters were beginning to dream of a second successive away win.

However, Bridgend came back into it when a poor midfield chase of a goal-line drop-out saw the home side switch play and scrum-half Chris Williams popped up in wide support to score in the left corner, Hodgkins converting splendidly in the wind and it was 15-14.

Hodgkins then fired Bridgend into the lead with a penalty and, as half-time approached, Neath were on the offensive again but knocked on with the line beckoning and there was two points in it at half-time.

Half-Time – Bridgend 17 points  Neath15 points

Bridgend came out stronger in the second-half and five minutes in they extended their lead when former Neath full back Ed Howley was given space to score and Hodgkins converted.

Ten minutes later the full back repeated the trick to make it 18-29 and Hodgkins then kicked a penalty before Neath blew a golden chance at an attacking line-out.

Both sides emptied their benches and the game entered a rather untidy period with too much “soak up” Neath defence being relieved by sporadic break-outs which did not produce reward.

To their credit, Neath kept going and one attack brought howls of protest from away supporters as exchange referee Mr. Katsuki Furara (who did a good job overall) when a lazy runner completely threw a Neath chance.

That allowed Bridgend to break to the other end but Neath defended, rallied, attacked again and were rewarded with a late score by No.8 Morgan Kneath. Unfortunately, the conversion attempt was missed and denied Neath a bonus point they probably deserved although Bridgend were clear winners.


BRIDGEND – E.Howley; G.Lacey, S.Floyd Ellis (J.Gatt), T.Morgan, C.Ellis (I.Griffith); J.Hodgkins, C.Williams (C.Smith); H.Olding (A.George), G.Harvey (E.Yardley), L.Tobias (P.Price); D.Burrows (B.Thomas), A.Llewellyn; I.Merriman (H.Barnes), J.Collier, Z.O’Driscoll (capt)


NEATH – A.Bramwell (S.Williams); L.Rees (K.Charles), R.Evans (capt), S.Wilcox, R.Griffiths; K.Jones, G.Williams (E.Lewis); J.Powell (M.Morgan), C.Morris (E.Kneath), T.Ryan (E.Hopkins); M.Davies, C.Arnold (G.W.Lloyd);  T.Morgan (J.Blackmore), M.Kneath, B.Williams

Referee – Mr. Katsuki Furasa (Japan)

Images courtesy of Len Kowalski