NPTC victorious in College Derby

Despite a late comeback last week by Bridgend College, Neath Port Talbot College ran out convincing winners in the Ospreylian derby.

It was a quiet first quarter for both sides at the Bridgend Ford Brewery Field as they tested each other and learnt the other side's play. Both of the Ospreylian Colleges had opportunities to show some good attacking moves but handling errors and fine defensive play meant neither could get over the try line. The first points on the board were to go to NPTC with a successful penalty kick by Dylan Francis with fifteen minutes played.

Just after the restart a very impressive run by NPTC's Hooker Luke Davies saw him head towards the line but a tackle by Bridgend sent the ball forward. Bridgend College managed to retain the ball at the scrum despite NPTC and Eyasses' player Jack Perkins putting pressure on them.

Neath Port Talbot College got the best of the next period of play, forcing the Bridgend defence back. Jakob Blackmore made a good break and Luke Davies carried it on before passing to fellow Eyasses' team mate Joe Gage who easily crossed the for the visitors. Dylan Francis' attempt to convert saw the ball hit the posts but with twenty-five minutes played it was Bridgend College 0 - 8 Neath Port Talbot College.

Bridgend had a chance to go on the attack from the restart with some good breaks, however the NPTC defence proved too strong and some wild but beautifully collected passes saw Blackmore cross the line for NPTC's second try of the game. This time Francis slotted it between the posts and with half an hour on the clock they led by 13.

NPTC proved their dominance just three minutes later. Luke Davies, who seemed to have forgotten he was a front row, again making a stunning run before passing to his team mate to cross the line for NPTC's third try of the game. Francis, right in front of the posts converted.

There was just chance before half time for another attack by the Neath Port Talbot side. Hooker Luke Davies running half the length of the field before a quick pass to Perkins who then passed back to Davies, but Bridgend regrouped and brought him down just short of the line. At half time the score remained Bridgend College 0 - 22 Neath Port Talbot College.

Bridgend had the best start of the second half. two strong runs saw them make some ground but they just couldn't find the gap in the visitors defence to make it count. After being penalised in a line out they quickly found themselves on the back foot. And unlike the home side, NPTC were quickly able to find a space to slip through. Joe Thomas scoring the first try of the second half and Francis putting them further ahead with his successful conversion. With just six minutes played in the second half the home side found themselves trailing by 29 points.

The next twenty minutes of play saw both teams with opportunities but no chance to score. Bridgend's defence was much improved, cutting out the most of the gaps that had been allowing NPTC to slip easily through. The visitors then found themselves down to 14 men as earlier star player Luke Davies  was shown a yellow card. Bridgend's Aaron Grabham made ground and team mate Gethin John almost powered over the line, only brought down by 4 NPTC's players. NPTC's discipline further let them down as Tyler Murvai, who had only been on the pitch two minutes as the replacement for Davies, was also yellow carded.

An uncontested scrum followed and Neath Port Talbot's 13 man squad couldn't stop Bridgend crossing for their first try of the game. Rhodri Davies was unable to convert because of the awkward angle of the kick but with ten minutes left to play the score was Bridgend 5 - 29 NPTC.

Despite being down to 13 men NPTC were keen to show they weren't giving up easily. They showed strong defence against the Bridgend attack and when the home side missed a chance to collect NPTC's chip downfield, Josh Ferriman took the opportunity to join in the scoring. Francis again converted and the visitors put themselves further ahead leading 36 to 5.

Bridgend were also keen to show they weren't giving up either despite the score line against them. Luke Griffiths running half the length  of the pitch to set up the second Bridgend try of the evening. This time Davies was able to convert making it 12 - 36.

With just seconds left on the clock NPTC restarted. A chip found its way into Bridgend hands and Aaron Grabham who had been key to many of the Bridgend attacks, raced up the wing for a well deserved try. His attempt to convert his try was missed and the game ended Bridgend 17 - 36 Neath Port Talbot College.

Max Howells, Neath Port Talbot College's Director of Rugby remarked on the game:

"I thought we had a nice mix tonight, the forwards won some good quality ball and we were on the front foot for once. We built the game quite nicely in the first half. The bonus win tonight was important as it puts us in the mix for getting in the top three spot when we reconvene in February".