Bedwas RFC 23 Pontypridd RFC 33
Principality Welsh Premiership, Saturday 1st September 2018.
Match report and photography by Ian Lovell
Pontypridd turned on the power in the second half as they overturned as 16 points to 3 deficit to run in a bonus point winning performance against a plucky Bedwas.
On a humid late summer afternoon both sides struggled for fluency early on as they sought to shrug off the rustiness often seen in a season’s opening game but it was Bedwas who took an early lead courtesy of two Joseph Scrivens penalties in the first 14 minutes put Bedwas ahead before Ceri Sweeney kicked a penalty after 23 minutes for Pontypridd to narrow the gap.
Bedwas responded immediately as Scrivens added a third penalty and then two minutes later a break from half way from winger Jordan Rees who brushed off would be tacklers to cross for a fine try, Scrivens added the conversion to put Bedwas 16-3 ahead a lead which they held onto until half time despite losing winger Dai Evans to the sin bin for killing the ball. Ponty thought they’d pulled a try back immediately but the ball was dropped over the line and the chance lost.
Pontypridd undoubtedly had a verbal blasting at half time from their head coach who made two changes for the second half. The experienced Huw Dowden coming on at hooker to shore up the scrum in place of Geraint Clarke. Centre Gary Williams came on for winger George Thomas with starting centre Alex Knott moving out to the wing. Ultimately this proved decisive with Knott claiming a brace of second half tries.
It didn’t take long for Ponty to reduce the deficit after the break as Sweeney notched a penalty after 43 minutes. This was followed up almost immediately as a quick break saw Alex Knott find just enough space to squeeze in a for a try in the corner.
Bedwas bought on fresh legs but again were architects of their own downfall as Mike Callow was sinbinned after 50 minutes. Ponty immediately took advantage with winger Alex Webber crossing for a try improved by Sweeney’s conversion.
Ponty tails were up and Bedwas could find no answer as Knott ran his second try just short of the hour and although the conversion was missed two minutes later scrum half Huw Rees scored the bonus point winning try this time converted by Sweeney.
Bedwas didn’t throw in the towel and James Thomas squeezed in for a try awarded by a touch judge after being initially judged by the referee as held up.
With ten minutes left to play Joe Scrivens’ conversion looked like earning Bedwas a losing bonus point.
Bedwas continued to battle but a third yellow card this time for Nathan Hudd after 76 minutes stifled what chance they had to hold on for that precious losing bonus point.
With the clock ticking down it looked as though Bedwas had earned a deserved point but Sweeney’s last kick of the game penalty snatched that away from them to the disappointment of the home faithful who felt their team’s efforts deserved something from the game.
Next Saturday (8th September) Bedwas face another stern test as they travel to face current champions Merthyr, kick off is at 2-30pm.
Other images from this game can be found at https://www.flickr.com/photos/bedwasrfc/albums