Bridgend Ravens produced a much improved performance to come within minutes of beating Bedwas on Boxing Day.
In front of an impressive crowd of 1,088, the Ravens cruelly had victory snatched from them after Harley Thompson scored five minutes before the end.
The game started poorly for the home side. Lewis Hudd crossed within the first five minutes to put his side ahead. Italian international fly half, Kris Burton missed the conversion.
Bridgend kept themselves in the game thanks to a penalty from the ever reliable James Dixon, and just two minutes later, captain Tom Grabham produced a moment of brilliance to put Bridgend into the lead. Dixon slotted the extras.
The Ravens continued to play exciting rugby, with Bedwas holding firm. Sadly for the hosts, Matthew Pewtner was able to crash over to give the men of Gwent the advantage. This time, Burton slotted the points.
Just before the interval, Ross Jones missed a penalty attempt, but as the referee blew for half time, the game was poised on a knife edge with the visitors leading 10-12.
Bridgend started the second half the much better side, and within the first 10 minutes retook the lead. Ross Jones slotted two excellent penalty goals to put the Ravens in a stronger position.
Bedwas reply came from the boot of Burton, but it was to be Bridgend who made the next notable contribution to the scoreboard. Excellent second row, Owain Lloyd was able to worm his way over the whitewash from close range. Jones successfully made it a seven point score.
With the home crowd now firmly behind their resurgent side, the Ravens went hunting for further scores, but a lapse in concentration saw Bedwas break, allowing winger Rory Budina to score out wide, with Burton again missing an attempt at goal for the conversion.
There was just ten minutes left, and three points in the game and the Ravens seemed certain to hold out, and looked the more likely to add to their score. It was not to be, however, as Harley Thompson broke Ravens hearts with a surge through the defence to touch down under the posts.
To their credit, Bridgend did not let their heads drop and fought right until the final whistle to regain their lead. Bedwas held out to ease their relegation worries, whilst heaping more pressure on a Ravens side that is sadly languishing in the lower region of the table.
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.
Ystradgynlais and Ynysddu played out a titanic struggle at Taffs Well in the SSE SWALEC Bowl semi-final. At the end of the game neither team could be separated after a 15-15 stalemate but Ystradgynlais go through on try count.
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.
This week on the Principality Premiership Podcast, WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie talks to Carmarthen Quins head coach Louie Tonkin who is aiming to close the gap on leading duo, Pontypridd and Ebbw Vale, with victory against Bridgend tomorrow.
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.
Developing the game in Wales and creating a stable and progressive environment for players of the future
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