A try from Scott Hicks could not prevent Bridgend exiting the SWALEC Cup
Bridgend Ravens were dumped out of the SWALEC Cup at Championship side Bargoed on Saturday.
In a see-saw encounter, both teams scored two tries apiece but it was the home side who progressed to the next round with a narrow 17-13 victory.
Despite the eventual result, it was the Ravens who started the tie the livelier of the two sides with No. 8 Scott Hicks and his back row partner Andrew Waite testing the resolve of the hosts. Bargoed stood firm in the face of this pressure but were unable to prevent Lewis Williams kicking the visitors into the lead.
The pressure from Bridgend continued as Glen Holloway and Williams began to peg back the Championship outfit. Crucially though, they missed a number of glaring opportunities to spread the ball wide and Bargoed took full advantage.
With their forward pack to the fore, hooker Lee Meads crashed over from short range to the delight of the partisan home crowd. The conversion was added by the impressive Josh Prosser.
And after Williams missed another penalty effort, it got better for the home side as their dominance at scrum time led to a penalty try as the pack drove rapidly towards the try line. Prosser again added the extras to give Bargoed control of the tie.
At 14-3 down at the start of the second half, the visitors needed an improved performance to get back into the game.
Backed by a fantastic travelling contingent, the Ravens played their way back into the contest with some sensible territorial kicking. And they got their reward when Hicks crashed over though Williams put the conversion wide of the uprights.
The try seemed to rejuvenate the visitors and they began to play with intelligence and flair. This saw a lovely backs move finished off by winger Rhys Ward-Jones. Again, Williams put the conversion wide but it seemed only a matter of time before the Ravens got on top.
Bargoed deserve the utmost credit for the way they responded. The Championship outfit held out well in the face of adversity, forcing errors from their Premiership visitors.
And on a rare flurry into the oppositions half, they earned a penalty which Prosser slotted to secure the upset.
Ebbw Vale coach Jason Strange is proud of his side's effort in against Pontypridd in the Principality Premiership final and as WRU TV's Liz Jones finds out, he's now looking forward to Wales' Under 20 campaign with confidence.
The countdown to the Junior World Championships starts in this week's Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We speak to WRU U20 coaching co-ordinator Allan Lewis and captain Rory Thornton. We speak to the winning teams at SWALEC Finals Day, Wales Sevens manager Steffan Thomas and Wales women's rugby manager Caroline Spanton.
We hear from JPR Williams, Tommy David and all six clubs in SWALEC Finals Day, as well as the first woman to referee a game at the Millennium Stadium, in this week's Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. JPR and David reminisce over the 1979 final, while we hear from Pontypridd, Bridgend, Ystrad Rhondda, Ystradgynlais, Cambrian Welfare and Newcastle Emlyn. Kath Pritchard became the forst Welsh woman to referee a game at the Millennium Stadium - we speak to her and WRU community referee development officer Paul Adams.
All roads lead to Cardiff on Sunday for the SSE SWALEC Finals Day at the Millennium Stadium. Cambrian Welfare tackle Ystradgynlais in the Bowl final, Ystrad Rhondda play Newcastle Emlyn in the Plate final while defending champions Pontypridd face Bridgend in the Cup final.
A look ahead to Judgement Day and back at youth finals day in the Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We hear from Andrew Coombs, Jake Ball, James Davies, Dan Lydiate and Josh Navidi. We also speak to Wattstown, Ystradgynlais, Rhydfelin, Pontypool United, Penallta and Pontypridd youth coaches at finals day at the Millennium Stadium.
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Wales Under 18 captain Calum Haggett has received a conditional offer to read Biomedical Science at St Anne's College, Oxford. WRU chairman Gareth Davies went to meet Calum and Coleg y Cymoedd Principal Judith Evans to wish him luck in his exams and pass on some of his personal experience.
The Principality Premiership awards and the Wales U20s get ready for the world cup in this week's Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We hear from coach of the year, Ebbw Vale's Jason Strange and Wales scrum half Rhys Webb. We also speak to Wales U20s Rory Thornton, Harrison Keddie, Tom Phillips and Geraint Lewis.
Pontypridd claim the Principality Premiership title - we speak to captain Dafydd Lockyer and coach Gareth Wyatt on the Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We also hear from losing finalists Ebbw Vale and their coach Jason Strange, while Steve Tandy and Dan Baker look ahead to the Ospreys Guinness Pro12 semi-final in Munster and Wales U20 defence coach Richard Hodges talks about the Junior World Championships.
Bargoed gained revenge for their only league loss of the season 25 days earlier by Merthyr as they added the Worthington Mid District Cup at Sardis Road, Pontypridd, to their earlier Championship success with a 39-20 triumph.
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Taking the grass roots game out across the length and breadth of the nation, the SWALEC Leagues are the focus of the community rugby in Wales
SSE SWALEC Cup
The SSE SWALEC Cup, Plate and Bowl continue the legacy of the WRU Challenge Cup, culminating in a shot at glory at the Millennium Stadium
Women's Community Rugby embraces both the regional and community club game from Girls' Leagues through to the Women's Premier Division