Bedwas slip down the table.
Bedwas RFC 27 Maesteg RFC 28 Premier Division, Saturday 10 November 2007.
Match report by Geoff Watkins, photography by Ian Lovell.
This was, as predicted, a potential banana skin for Bedwas against bottom of the table Maesteg, a team who have been playing well but not getting the results. Maesteg were not expected to win at the Bridgefield in light of Bedwas piling up the points against Llanelli the previous week. However, Maesteg came through a hard, abrasive battle enjoying long periods of dominance, and although forced to defend desperately in the closing stages hung on for a deserved single point win.
The first half was largely stalemate the visitors having a strong wind advantage, using it well to keep Bedwas back pedalling, their heavier pack slogging it out with their more mobile opponents. Maesteg being well orchestrated by on loan Ospreys outside half Gareth Owen to gain an interval lead of 18 points to 14. Given the wind 4 points looked as though it may not be a huge advantage, Maestegs points coming from Number 8 Karl Hocking collecting a cross field kick by Owen and from wing Lennie Woodard with Gareth Owen adding a conversion and two penalties. Bedwas’s points from a sharp try by scrum half James Pizey and the try of the match from Phil Dollman, his swerving run over 70 metres taking him past four would be tacklers, full back Stuart Thomas superbly converting both into the wind.
Bedwas started the second period well enough but scoring chances went begging and the visitors were in for their third try with centre Mike Davies driven over, Owen converting and adding a penalty. In the closing stages Bedwas hit back strongly, camping in the Maesteg 22 metre area for Phil Dollman’s second try with Stuart Thomas slotting the conversion to add to his earlier penalties and reduce the deficit to one point. An exiting finale saw Bedwas hammering the line but unable to get the crucial score and with almost the last play the hard working forwards sent the ball out, outside half Jason Tovey attempted a match winning drop goal, under pressure, the ball scraping past the wrong side of the post.
The result leaves the Bridgefield side with just a solitary bonus point and slipping to 9th place in the 14 club division. Stuart Thomas’s superb place kicking keeps him top Premiership points scorer with 97 points. Bedwas next face a difficult match, away to Bridgend on Saturday 17 November 2007.
Bedwas coach Steve Law
‘It would have been hard on Maesteg if we had scraped a win as they have struggled this season but displayed a committed performance and dominated for almost 70 minutes. Obviously we would have been pleased if the last minute drop goal attempt had gone over but I was disappointed on what seemed a lack of enthusiasm and must sort it out.’
Maesteg coach Gareth Brown
‘At last a win, but we deserved it. I thought we had scored a definite try but the ref didn’t. We did the homework on Bedwas and our pack has gone well this season all season, but we knew we were up against a well drilled and well organised side. A wonderful boost for our confidence and now off the bottom of the table.’
Stuart Thomas, Jimmy Norris, Phil Dollman, John Welch (Captain), Nathan Hill, Jason Tovey, James Pizey, John Tilley, Brian Edwards, Aled Williams, Rhodri Edwards, Adam Brown, Phil Sargent, Stuart Phillips, Neil Lewis.
Dafydd Lewis (Tilley 71 mins), Peter Harrison (B.Edwards 74 mins), Jon Salter (Williams 67 mins), Craig Powell (R.Edwards 67 mins), James Harris (Phillips 63 mins), Simon Jones (Pizey 63 mins), Andrew James (not used).