LLANELLI moved up to fifth place in the Premiership with this far from easy win against a combative and determined Bridgend.
Both sides were short of players through Wales Under-20 and regional calls, but Llanelli had just enough edge in invention and pace to shade the four-tries-to-three win.
There was plenty of young talent on show however — none more promising than Llanelli's schoolboy centre Dylan Morgans — but the key difference was the attacking talent of his co-centre Nick Reynolds.
Reynolds oozed class and scored a brace of tries, one in each half, with a combination of great anticipation and elusive running to underline how richly blessed the Scarlets region is for centres.
Jonathan Davies, Scott Williams, Adam Warren and Gareth Maule stand in Reynolds's way, but there is little doubt that given a chance the 22-year-old would make an impact at a higher level.
Coach Kevin George recognised his value.
"Nick has an old head on young shoulders and brings people into play as well as possessing an eye for the gap and good pace," he said.
"He showed the way with two great tries and underlined his considerable value to us."
George recognised that Llanelli have it still to do to get into the play-offs, but this sixth consecutive win will give them great confidence.
With seven of their remaining ten games to be played at home, they look serious challengers.
Last year they finished third in the table but went on to beat Neath 46-5 and Pontypridd 24-18 in the play-offs, and the current crop are more than capable of emulating that feat.
They left it late to clinch a bonus point when replacement wing Ryan Bayliss scrambled over in injury time, but the win puts them just eight points behind Llandovery having played three games fewer than the league leaders.
They found Bridgend, who had an outstanding forward in No. 8 Rory Pitman, worthy opponents, and it was not until the yellow carding of Ravens centre Jamie Murphy in the 76th minute that Llanelli eventually pulled away.
It was 20-17 at the break after home tries from Reynolds and wing Bowdy Davies had been matched by a brace from Murphy.
Full-backs Diggy Bird and Dai Flanagan did not miss a kick all afternoon and a brilliant solo try from Reynolds was matched by a rampaging effort from Bridgend flanker Lloyd Evans to make it 30-27 with four minutes left.
Murphy was crucially sin-binned and Bird put over a penalty and the conversion of the Bayliss try to end up with a tally of 20 points and give the score a flattering slant in his side's favour.
Llanelli : Tries: N. Reynolds (2), B. Davies, R. Bayliss. Cons: D. Bird (4). Pens: D. Bird (4)
Team : D. Bird; B. Davies, N. Reynolds, D. Morgans, G. Drewson (R. Bayliss 55); O. Williams, J. James; R. Thomas (S. Hopkins 58), C. Hawkins (capt, T Wilson h/t), A. Hopkins, A. Laxton, N. White, D. Eager, E. Price (A Powell 73), C. Price.
Bridgend : Tries: J. Murphy (2), L. Evans. Cons: D. Flanagan (3). Pens: D. Flanagan (2).
Team : D. Flanagan; S. Cullen, J. Murphy, G. Howells, T. Grabham; D. Griffiths, K. Barrett; C. Francis (O. Cotton 66), M. Dwyer, J. Thomas, L. Peers, J. Goode, B. Thomas (capt, A, Waite 67), R, Pitman (M, Llewellyn 69), A, Ellis (L, Evans 63)
courtesy of thisissouthwales
Llanelli RFC 40 - 27 Bridgend Ravens