Welsh champions Bridgend secured a thrilling one-point victory over Pontypridd at the Brewery Field on Saturday night, courtesy of an 85th-minute Gareth Cull penalty goal.
Pontypridd looked to have stolen the win whenfly-half Neil Jenkins took his personal tally to 22 points with a sixth penalty goal in injury
time, but Cull rescued his team-mates with a shot from in front of the posts - the final action of a pulsating match.
Jenkins opened the scoring with a penalty goal after two minutes when fullback Gareth Wyatt was flattened while chasing a clever chip into the
Bridgend deadball area. The "Ginger Monster" converted a second attempt in the sixth minute, taking him past 100 Welsh League points in a season yet again, but his mistake gave Bridgend their first points.
The veteran Wales fly-half broke through the first line of defence but his pass was intercepted by Bridgend centre Anthony Carter. He fed fullback Matt James, who drew the final defender before giving promising young centre David Bishop a free run to the line. Craig Warlow's conversion gave the Welsh champions the lead for the first time in the match.
Warlow added a penalty goal, but opposite number Jenkins added two to regain the lead at 12-10 after 35 minutes. He missed a long-range attempt, but was on target for the conversion of a well-executed Pontypridd try to winger Richard Fussell.
Centre Shaun James made the initial break after some quick passing through the Valley Commandoes' backline and Wyatt drew Matt James before giving Fussell a simple run-in to the line and Pontypridd a 19-10 lead
at the break - a fair return for almost two-thirds of possession.
The 2,000 Ravens faithful at the Brewery Field were soon cheering, though, with impressive New Zealand flanker Cory Harris sneaking around the side of a maul and scoring a well-taken try in the 47th minute. Replacement goal-kicker Cull's conversion took his all-time tally for Bridgend past the 1,000-point mark and narrowed the margin to two points.
Jenkins and Cull exchanged penalty goals to leave the match poised at 22-17 to the visitors, but the unlikely figure of Pontypridd prop Duncan Bell turned the match in his side's favour.
The Bath-bound frontrower appeared on the wing to take a pass from Bryant and score in the corner, and Jenkins' conversion extended
Pontypridd's lead to nine points.
Things went from bad to worse for the champions when replacement prop Chris Horsman was sinbinned for continued infringements at the scrum, but the Ravens ignored the loss and drove back into the match through a try to Horsman's propping partner, Jon Thiel, after some impressive buildup work from impressive backrower Shawn Van Rensburg.
Incredibly, 14-man Bridgend took the lead 30-29 when hooker Ben Phillips was driven over from close range, but Jenkins looked to have stolen the win with an 83rd-minute penalty goal.
But with so many twists and turns in this match, there was no surprise when Bridgend ere awarded a last-minute penalty in front of the posts, and Cull made no mistake to give the Ravens 14 wins out of 15 League matches this season.
Bridgend: Tries - D Bishop, C Harris, J Thiel, B Phillips; Pens - C Warlow, G Cull 2; Cons - C Warlow, G Cull.
Pontypridd: Tries - R Fussell, D Bell; Pens - N Jenkins 6; Cons - N Jenkins 2. Halftime: Pontypridd 19-10.
Whenever Bedlinog tackle Penallta a massive fixure is guaranteed but this Sunday there will be even more emphasis placed on the two rivals when they contest the SSE Swalec Plate final at Principality Stadium.
Ahead of their SSE SWALEC Bowl Final clash with Taffs Well at Principality Stadium on Sunday, Burry Port share their #FABXV nomination with WRUTV in the search for Welsh rugby's greatest volunteers. Everyone can get involved by sending nominations via twitter to @WRU_Community using the hashtag #FABXV
Cardiff Blues prop Gethin Jenkins and Ospreys centre Ben John look ahead to the first game at Principality Stadium in Saturday's double header which is promising to be a special occasion for all Welsh fans.
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SWALEC ambassador Shane WIlliams is looking forward to Sunday's Finals Day where the Cup, Bowl and Plate offers a great opportunity for players and teams to experience the magic of playing at Principality Stadium
Carmarthen Quins coach Richard Kelly believes it is an exciting time to be part of the Scarlets region as his side take on local rivals Llandovery in the SSE Swalec Cup final on Sunday, as WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie discovers
Scarlets long serving prop Phil John talks to WRU TV's Graeme Gillespie about Judgement Day IV and SSE Swalec Cup finals day. The last time Llandovery were in the cup final in 2007, the Drovers claimed the spoils with Phil playing a major role in the engine room.
Meet Aberdare coach Luke Thomas whose #FABXV nomination goes to super volunteer Daz with a whopping 10 things he does for the club each week, all except the ironing! You can also join in the search for Welsh rugby's greatest volunteers, by sending your nomination via twitter to @WRU_Community using the hashtag #FABXV