NPTC victorious in Ospreylian college derby

Despite an impressive comeback from Bridgend College, NPTC ran out eventual winners in a close and exciting game.


Neath Port Talbot College were targeting a bonus point win from this game to progress in the WRU Wednesday Under 18 League, but it was the visiting Bridgend team that made the most determined start. 

From the whistle Bridgend were the dominant team, constantly attacking and challenging the home sides defence. However they struggled to convert their opportunities and make the final moves needed to score a try.

Despite Bridgend being the stronger team in the first 10 minutes, it was NPTC who came the closest to scoring. The few times they managed to get the ball in hand they looked dangerous and caused the Bridgend defence problems.

They used this clever attacking play effectively in the 13th minute and some quick passes across field allowed Luke Williams to slip between the Bridgend defenders to get the first points on the board. Dylan Francis putting the ball between the posts to extend  NPTC's lead.

Bridgend almost evened the scores a minute later with a good chip and chase but Neath Port Talbot managed to reach it first and take it in to touch. Instead it was them that again made the best of their chances as they doubled their lead just 5 minutes after their first try. 

From the restart Bridgend were again back in control of the ball, passing it around the park as they tried to find a gap in the NPTC defence. But just as it looked like they may bring themselves back into contention, the home side managed to intercept just feet from the line. 

With just over half an hour played, it was once again Neath Port Talbot College that managed to convert their efforts into points as their quick passing and numbers out wide allowed them across for their third try. Dylan Francis was unable to kick the difficult conversion, but with no more scores in the last few minutes of the first half NPTC led comfortably 19 - 0 at the break.

Despite going into the second half with such a deficit, Bridgend College were nowhere near ready to give up. They started just as determined as they had in the first half and were soon rewarded for their efforts. With just four minutes played they found the gap in NPTC's defence that they had fruitlessly searched for in the first 35 minutes and slipped over to score. Rhodri Davies kicking the ball straight between the posts to convert.

Neath Port Talbot College, looking for the bonus point, were soon back on the attack though. They managed to cross the line twice in the next five minutes but with the ball being held up once and the second not counting because the player was held they were still hunting for their 4th try. The home team did not have to wait long, they picked up a loose ball from a Bridgend line out and powered up the field. Jacob Blackmore charged over the line to score and Dylan Francis converted easily to extend their lead to 26 - 7.

Still Bridgend were not ready to give up and less than two minutes after NPTC's try they too raced up field and with some good passing crashed over the line. Rhodri Davies was unable to get the right angle on the ball and the try went unconverted.

The visitors continued to put pressure on the Neath Port Talbot defence. An interception saw them race toward the try line before NPTC could regroup and knock them into touch just feet from the try line. Soon they were once again on the offensive, only a knock on stopping them crossing the line on this occasion.

It was a case of third time lucky for Bridgend's attacking forces as minutes later they managed to  slip through NPTC's back line to score. Though Rhodri Davies was again unable to make the conversion.

With just minutes left on the clock and trailing by 9 points Bridgend College continued their aggressive attack on NPTC. Aaron Grabham ,who had made so many of Bridgend's breaks, once again showing his pace to race over for the visitors 4th try. Davies sent the kick wide again however, leaving the try unconverted.

Despite both teams efforts neither could make any impact in the remaining minutes of play and with Bridgend perhaps rueing their missed kicks the game ended:

Neath Port Talbot College 26 - 22 Bridgend College

Max Howells, NPTC's Director of Rugby commented on the victory:

"We had an objective to win with a bonus point, which we did, however we weren't tight enough in the last ten minutes which was disappointing really. But at the end of the day it was a win and we got the bonus point so it's job done".