FIVE days after edging a tense derby tussle, the Dragons suffered a narrow defeat against fiercest rivals Cardiff Blues at the Arms Park.

Dean Ryan’s men were unable to repeat their stunning late upset against the Scarlets but at least left the capital with a consolation bonus point.

They scored a try in each half with flanker Taine Basham followed over by lock Matthew Screech but they were edged out from the tee.

The Dragons showed tenacity yet again and have shown that they are no longer derby pushovers.

However, they were unable to halt a run of nine defeats to the Blues since they upset the odds in Cardiff on Boxing Day, 2014.

Last year, under the stewardship of caretaker boss Ceri Jones, they suffered last-gasp anguish when Gareth Anscombe denied them a draw.

This wasn’t quite as heart-breaking but there will be the feeling that it was a chance missed, because it was a nip and tuck game throughout.

South Wales Argus:

The Dragons had the nudge up front with evergreen loosehead Brok Harris putting in his second 80-minute derby shift on the spin and tyro Taine Basham impressing alongside Wales back rowers Aaron Wainwright and Ross Moriarty.

However, they were never really able to get in a position to make their dominance in the tight game count against a Blues side that looked threatening with ball in hand.

Nonetheless, it was another battling Dragons display and if they take the spoils against the Ospreys on the first Saturday in January then it will be a fantastic derby period.

The Dragons made a lively start and a scrum penalty earned them an early chance in the 22.

Strong carries by centre Jack Dixon, number eight Moriarty and lock Cory Hill and a snipe by Rhodri Williams put them within a yard of the line only for blindside Shane Lewis-Hughes to earn the hosts an escape by getting over the ball.

And it was the back rower, so impressive in the weekend win at the Ospreys, that opened the scoring for the hosts in the 11th minute after a piece of brilliance by Jarrod Evans.

South Wales Argus:

The fly-half used Wales try machine Josh Adams as a decoy to dart between his Test teammates Moriarty and Wainwright before calmly providing the assist for a try that he converted.

The Dragons wasted another chance in the 22 when centre Tyler Morgan lost the ball after a strong burst down the left; pressure had to be turned into points.

The Blues looked lively with ball in hand despite the rain while the Dragons looked to have the nudge in the tight, although their attack was struggling after their starter plays.

It was the hosts that scored next in the 29th minute when Dixon went off his feet in the 22, after a shuddering tackle by lock Matthew Screech on the returning World Cup star Josh Navidi, to allow Evans to make it 10-0.

That was a bigger gap than the Dragons had faced against the Scarlets, when they showed their resilience to stay in the game after shipping a quickfire brace.

They needed to strike next – and they did on the stroke of half-time thanks to the pack.

A scrum penalty was booted to within five metres by fly-half Sam Davies and the forwards did the rest, hooker Richard Hibbard hitting his man and the shove going over for flanker Basham to get a remarkable eighth try of the campaign.

Davies couldn’t add the extras and the Dragons trailed 10-5 at the break, ready for a second half against the wind but with the nudge up front and Wales internationals Elliot Dee and Leon Brown waiting to come on from the bench.

It was the Blues that had first chance to score after the resumption after lock Hill was hit hard on halfway and Navidi was straight over the ball to earn a shot at goal for Evans.

It was just out of his range, as he hit the crossbar and the Dragons were soon 12-10 up rather than 13-5 down.

A Navidi pass was snaffled by Basham and he raced away from 10 metres inside his own half only for Evans to drag him down five metres out.

The Dragons retained possession and the defensive line parted for lock Screech, two-try hero next door in the Judgement Day victory against the Scarlets last season, to gallop over for a try that Davies converted.

South Wales Argus:

The visitors lost Moriarty, who limped off at half-time after a blow to his right knee, and lost their lead with half an hour left after Evans punished a high tackle by captain Rhodri Williams on winger Adams.

He was then replaced by former Dragon Jason Tovey and he hit the left upright with a swift chance for three points.

It was nip and tuck entering the final quarter with the Dragons going close after a burst into the 22 by centre Tyler Morgan only for fly-half Davies’ grubber through to tantalisingly dribble out with chasers chasing hard.

Just like last weekend versus the Scarlets, it was a tense encounter as the closing stages approached with neither side able to make an error.

The Dragons were pinged by referee Nigel Owens for offside in the 68th minute to allow Tovey to give the Blues a bit more breathing space at 16-12.

The fly-half missed a golden chance to make it 19-12 with eight minutes left when he failed to punish an offside that saw Ashton Hewitt sent to the sin bin.

If the Dragons were to steal the spoils then they would have to do it with a numerical disadvantage, with replacement back rower Harri Keddie sacrificed for Jacob Botica to keep a full complement of backs on.

However, they were kept at arm’s length at the Arms Park and as the clock ticked along they looked more in danger of losing their consolation bonus.

Thankfully they held firm and left with a point that their toil deserved.

Cardiff Blues: H Amos, O Lane, R Lee-Lo, B Thomas, J Adams, J Evans, T Williams, B Thyer, L Belcher, K Assiratti, J Ratti, J Turnbull, S Lewis-Hughes, O Robinson, J Navidi (captain). Replacements: E Lewis, R Gill, S Andrews, S Davies, W Boyde, L Williams, J Tovey, M Morgan.

Scorers: try – S Lewis-Hughes; conversion – J Evans; penalties – J Evans (2), J Tovey

Dragons: W Talbot-Davies, J Rosser, T Morgan, J Dixon (A Warren 69), A Hewitt, S Davies, R Williams (captain, L Baldwin ), B Harris, R Hibbard (E Dee 56), A Jarvis (L Brown 56), M Screech (J Davies 69), C Hill, A Wainwright, T Basham, R Moriarty (H Keddie 46, J Botica 72).

Scorers: tries – T Basham, M Screech; conversion – S Davies

Yellow card: A Hewitt

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)

Attendance: 12,125

Argus star man: Taine Basham