NEATH 7 BRIDGEND 10
Bridgend opened the scoring after just five minutes when flanker Adam O’Driscoll went in for a try which winger Will Holley converted.
With their forwards scrummaging strongly, Neath had Bridgend back-pedalling and it came as no surprise when prop Ben Uphill touched down for a try which full back Ed Howley converted.
Neath dominated territorially for most of the half but were surprisingly penalised at a scrum where they were well on top and further indisciplines gave Holley the chance to nudge Bridgend in front at half-time 10-7.
And that was the end of the scoring. The best that can be said of the second-half is that the defences did well. No more points and Neath must step it up next week at Cross Keys.
Neath open The Gnoll Premiership rugby season against Bridgend on Saturday (kick off 2.30pm).
Rugby football is a squad game these days and the Welsh All Blacks make a number of changes from last week’s starting line-up. Behind the scrum, Ashley Evans and Gavin Evans come into the three-quarter line with former Ebbw Vale outside-half Callum Hall partnering Scott Gibson at half-back.
Up front, the strong scrummaging Ben Uphill and Sion Crocker start in the front row with the experienced Leon Ward and speedy open-side Lloyd Evans coming into the back-row.
A powerful-looking bench features a strong front row unit in Luke Garrett, Darren Hughes and Tyla Murvail with lively forwards Ryan Bean, Elis Hopkins and Aled Cockwell together with the ever-reliable Chris Morgans and Dan Guarneri.
A tremendous amount of work has gone on behind the scenes at The Gnoll over the summer and new captain Scott Andrews who joined from the Dragons says, “It will be great to run out at The Gnoll for our first home game. I couldn’t get over the atmosphere and post-match organisation when we beat Pontypool pre-season, – and that was a friendly.”
“The support we took to RGC was superb too. We know we must do our bit on the field and we are geared for a big effort on Saturday but acknowledge that we have formidable opponents in Bridgend who are always sharp in attack and well-organised defensively.”
Neath v Bridgend (Home)
15 Ed Howley; 14 Ashley Evans, 13 Aaron Bramwell, 12 Gavin Evans, 11 Alec Jenkins; 10 Callum Hall, 9 Scott Gibson; 1 Ben Uphill, 2 Sion Crocker, 3 Liam Tobias; 4 Jon Barley, 5 Scott Andrews (captain); 6 Leon Ward, 7 Lloyd Evans, 8 Ieuan Jones
Replacements – 16 Luke Garrett, 17 Darren Hughes, 18 Tyla Murvai, 19 Ryan Bean, 20 Elis Hopkins, 21 Aled Cockwell, 22 Chris Morgans, 23 Dan Guarneri
Referee – Mr. Ian Davies (Porthcawl)
PLEASE NOTE – Admission £10 all parts, Under-16’s FREE