Cross Keys RFC 25 Bedwas RFC 26 Welsh Premier Division, Sat 22 September 2007
Bedwas battle to end for narrow win.
Match report by Geoff Watkins, photograph by Ian Lovell.
Nearest Premiership rivals Cross Keys always play it abrasively with the added incentive to end Bedwas’ three consecutive wins over them but were denied as final minutes pressure brought a one point victory for the Bridge Field Club.
Bedwas started well with a penalty from full back STUART THOMAS and a snap drop goal from outside half JASON TOVEY inside eight minutes. Keys immediately hit back with Number 8 SCOTT BRIDGES crashing over from a ‘take and drive’ putting Bedwas on the back foot. Keys repeatedly kicked along, the first quarter strewn with errors and no cohesion in attack from either side. Keys took the lead with a 28th minute penalty by full LEON ANDREWS who added two more in front of the posts penalties for a 14-6 half time lead, a half in which they conceded four penalties in the first quarter and one in the second quarter, Bedwas conceding seven.
Bedwas’ chance of a fight back were dented just two minutes after the restart when flanker JAMES HARRIS was yellow carded for ‘over the top’, ANDREWS’ 40 metre penalty hitting a post and bouncing back into play. The visitors were slow to react to a kick through, Keys wing DAVID JAMES following up fast to pounce for a shock try and a 19-6 lead. It took 47 minutes for Bedwas to register their first try, hooker BEN FLOWER crossing at the corner flag. With the match looking for a spark of inspiration the first sweeping move came from Bedwas but stopped when outside half JASON TOVEY was injured, play held up for seven minutes until he was stretchered off to hospital in a neck brace.
Substitute hooker PETER HARRISON charged down a Keys clearance kick to move the ball along the line at pace and centre ADAM HUGHES ran in from 30 metres, STUART THOMAS converting the try. Within two minutes however, Keys extended their lead as a penalty was converted by ANDREWS. The match continued to see saw as ANDREWS landed his fifth penalty after Bedwas lock ADAM BROWN was sin-binned and Bedwas down to seven man pack for the second time.
The final minutes had Bedwas mounting an intensive effort, hammering the home line with Keys desperately defending in numbers. The home side were left visibly shocked as Bedwas wing NATHAN HILL burst over for a last minute winning try. There was a marked contrast in reaction between the two sets of players and supporters, one set in vociferous elation, and the other stunned silence.
The narrowest of winning scores saw Bedwas remaining in 5th position in the table. Next up sees Bedwas entertain Glamorgan Wanderers at the Bridge Field on Saturday 29 September 2007.
Bedwas coach Steve Law.
'Atrocious play from both sides, unforced errors, wrong options, I don’t think wither sets of coaching staff would be pleased with the respective performances. We kept working hard and sometimes a match is won by playing well and sometimes by playing badly, the all-important factor is the result.'
Cross Keys forwards coach Greg Woods.
'The second half performance, in particular, was unacceptable. In front after ten minutes, holding the lead for almost the entire match right up to the last minute and then lose the match. Too many turnovers and missed tackles and we did not play for territory. Bedwas v Keys have always been abrasive scraps and they played it hard right to the end. Very disappointed to lose a match we should have won.'
15. Stuart Thomas
14. Scott Horner
13. Adam Hughes
12. John Welch (Capt)
11. Nathan Hill
10. Jason Tovey (David Atkins 57 mins)
9. Simon Jones
1. Jon Tilley (Brian Edwards 23 mins)
2. Ben Flower (Peter Harrison 47 mins)
3. Keiron Jenkins
4. Sion Dafydd (Rhodri Edwards 47 mins)
5. Adam Brown
6. Phil Sargent
7. James Harris (Neil Lewis 47 mins)
8. Deri Mattravers
16. Rhodri Edwards
17. Peter Harrison
18. Brian Edwards
19. Neil Lewis
20. Tom Edwards (not used)
21. David Atkins
22. Matthew Pizey (not used)