Bradley Davies

Former Wales second row Bradley Davies. Pic: Getty Images.

Bradley Davies . . . Hot And Bothered And A Bridgend Raven At 37

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By Paul Jones

Bradley Davies picked the hottest day of the year to make his Bridgend debut, but he loved every one of the 67 minutes he played.

When you are fast approaching your 37th birthday, and you are supposed to have hung up your boots and be coaching, rather than playing, for a living, turning out against one of the best packs in the Indigo Premiership is not the easiest task.

After pulling on a Bridgend shirt for the first time at the weekend in a 24-18 home defeat against Aberavon at The Brewery Field, the former Wales second row said: “The plan is to play now and then, but I don’t know who picked the warmest day of the year for me to play.

“We wanted to back up a big away win the previous week and we threw another win away.

“We were the dominant pack, but we blew a couple of great chances. We can’t blame anyone else other than ourselves for not making it two from two.

“We’ve gone from being a top 10 or top eight pack into a more ruthless set of forwards. I’m going to be a bit of a help to the pack because I’m 135kgs, but we want to be a dominant force.

“We should have won the game by 10-15 points. We’re trying to change the perception of Bridgend from being a team of triers and tough boys, into a side to be feared.”

When Davies came off the Ravens were 18-17 ahead, but he had to watch from the dugout as visiting skipper Joe Gage pounced for a try five minutes from time to make it two from two for the Wizards.

Aberavon, who had opened their season with a home win over Neath, got off to a good start, but failed to convert any of their first three driving line-out platforms.

Usually their strongest suit, they found the Davies-inspired and organised home pack up to the task in defence.

They eventually opened the scoring with a try from right wing Jay Baker in the 12th minute after a forward drive was held up and the Wizards had been forced to go wide to achieve success.

James Davies converted off the right touchline with a little bit of help from an upright.

Davies and Luke Price traded penalties before Bridgend drew level with a try from centre Rhys Williams that Price improved.

The Ravens scrum was getting on top and earning a stream of penalties, but the Wizards were back in front by the break after another great break by Baker was turned into a try wide on the left for flanker Casey Williams.

Davies this time converted off the left touchline and it was 17-10 to Aberavon at the interval.
That quickly changed as the Ravens plundered eight points in the opening 10 minutes of the second half.

Price kicked a simple penalty and scrum half Chris Williams collected an inside pass from the superb Edd Howley to cross for the try of the game.

Bridgend had plenty of chances to win the game, notably when they had a scrum five penalty near the end, but Gage’s clever try from 25 metres out, which Davies improved, won the day

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