Preview: Bridgend v Aberavon

Aberavon (4th – 45 points) are on the road this Saturday as they travel to the Brewery Field to take on Bridgend (14th – 18 points) in the Principality Premiership, kick off 2:30pm.

The Ravens, who have played a game less than the Wizards, have won three of their twelve games this season, with them winning two of their five games played at home.

Bridgend started their season with a loss against Cross Keys with them picking up two bonus points in the process. A pair of wins followed as they saw off both Neath and Swansea, with them picking up a bonus point against the Whites.

The Ravens then suffered three straight losses as they went down to Ebbw Vale, Pontypridd and Merthyr. A losing bonus point was picked up in their one-point loss against the Steelmen, and a try bonus point was picked up against Ponty.

In the middle of October Bridgend saw off Llandovery at the Brewery Field but have since lost five straight as they went down to Newport, Carmarthen, Cardiff, Bedwas and, last weekend, Llanelli. The Ravens did pick up a losing bonus point against Bedwas.

Looking at the Premiership, in “attack”, Bridgend have scored 16.3 points on average per game (ranked bottom) and 2.0 tries (ranked bottom). In “defence” they have conceded 28.8 points on average per game (ranked 12th) and 3.6 tries (ranked 11th). Aberavon have scored 25.5 points per game (ranked 5th) and 3.6 tries (ranked joint 3rd), and conceded 20.4 points (ranked 7th) and 2.9 tries (ranked 8th).

Head-to-head, Aberavon and Bridgend have met each other 36 times in the Welsh National League with the series tied on 17 wins each and 2 draws. At the Brewery Field, the Ravens lead 10 – 7 with 1 game drawn, and won 37 – 21 when the sides met at the ground last season.

Looking back to when the sides met at the ground in February 2006, Aberavon made a sensational start as they raced into a 21-point lead in the opening 11 minutes thanks to tries from Anthony Edwards, Richard Morris and Darryl Thomas. Jamie Davies added the extras. Bridgend hit back at the end of the first quarter with a try by Adam Whitney before Davies and Gareth David traded penalties. The Wizards were awarded an injury time penalty try and Davies’s conversion gave the visitors a 31 – 8 interval lead.

Davies kicked his second penalty early in the second half before the homeside fought back. In the last half hour, the Ravens scored tries through Roger Davies and Mike Powell and were awarded a penalty try themselves. David converted all three while Davies kicked a third penalty for the Wizards to make the final score 37 – 29 to Aberavon.

The Wizards team that day was: Liam Gadd; Richard Carter, Paul Bamsey, David Hawkins, Daran Griffiths; Jamie Davies, Daniel Hawkins; Lloyd Howell (rep Mike Harris), Chris Wells (capt), Anthony Edwards (rep James Jones), Paul Morgan (rep Chris Kinsey, rep Christian Richards), Andrew Fisher, Ian Moore, Richard Morris, Darryl Thomas.

The referee for Saturday’s game is Nigel Owens, aided by Aaron Parry and Ryan Lewis.

TEAM P W D L PF PA PTS
Merthyr 21 17 0 4 612 340 86
Cardiff 21 16 1 4 647 430 81
Pontypridd 20 16 0 4 714 357 78
Ebbw Vale 21 15 1 5 474 348 71
Llandovery 21 13 1 7 572 381 66
Aberavon 20 13 2 5 440 382 63
Newport 21 12 2 7 526 489 63
Rygbi Gogledd Cymru 1404 19 10 0 9 496 410 56
Carmarthen Quins 22 10 0 12 456 420 53
Swansea 20 10 0 10 467 416 51
Llanelli 21 6 1 14 411 546 34
Bridgend Ravens 19 6 0 13 362 472 33
Cross Keys 20 5 1 14 432 648 33
Bedwas 21 5 1 15 441 614 30
Bargoed 20 3 0 17 361 683 18
Neath 19 1 0 18 287 762 3