Maesteg Hit For Six
Maesteg RFC 8 Bedwas RFC 30
Report by Geoff Watkins, photography by Ian Lovell
A bright, sunny afternoon, but a strong wind blowing straight down the pitch and seven tries in total, all of which, strangely, went unconverted. The result a boost for Bedwas, plus the bonus try point and a blow to Maesteg, desperately pinned to the bottom of the table.
Maesteg fielded a heavyweight pack, started well enough and such was the strength of the wind in their favour, it prompted outside half Luke Richards to an attempt an early penalty for 60 metres, which certainly had the length but was wide. Bedwas putting together a sweeping move initiated by a break by centre Jason Tovey, excellent passing between backs and forwards for Stuart Thomas to cross wide out for an 8th minute try. The highly motivated home side hit back strongly and were over the line, the try disallowed for crossing, and then had to defend in numbers as Bedwas almost scored with wing Jimmy Norris bought down just short. However, from a 5 metre line-out, virtue of a penalty, scrum half James Pizey sniped through for a try after 24 minutes of end to end abrasive play. Bedwas then lost injured hooker Keiran Crawford replaced by Brian Edwards on the half hour.
Maesteg, as would be expected, kicked long to keep Bedwas on the back foot, but the more innovative play was from the visitors who scored a shock try when James Pizey cut through from his own 22 metre line, raced away and Jimmy Norris was at his shoulder to finish the final 40 metres. Maesteg were certainly in the game and again fought back but missed a likely score when the final pass went astray just prior to half time to end 15-0 in Bedwas’ favour.
Maesteg replaced 6’7” lock Paul Jones for the second period and again started well, full of commitment and intent which bought a 48th minute try for pacey winger Lenny Woodard. Bedwas replaced centre Gareth Miles with Adam Hughes as ‘The Old Parish’ fought back and again threatened but with lock Adam Brown stealing a lineout ball Bedwas were again at the opposition line but could not break a stout defence.
Alarm bells were ringing for the visitors when number 8 Andrew Tibbatts was sin-binned for killing the ball and Luke Richards slotted the 65th minute penalty to reduce the score line to 15-8. Jimmy Norris came off injured with Scott Horner coming on but the worries eased when James Pizey sidestepped his way elusively through for his second try, prompting Bedwas to replace prop Gareth Leonard with Dafydd Lewis.
The Maesteg defence cracked when flanker Phil Sargent powered his way through tackles for a fine try wide out. Bedwas bought on their remaining three replacements with Gareth Crothers replacing the inured James Pizey, Brendon Lampitt on for Phil Sargent and Neil Lewis on for Andrew Tibbatts. The fresh legs making an immediate impact and the sixth try came when centre Adam Hughes capitalised on a midfield error and had enough pace to outstrip the chasing defence from his own half with two minutes left of a match full of tension.
A thoroughly deserved win for the Bridge Field club against a committed side that battled hard throughout for survival but the remaining three matches for Bedwas are all against tough opposition, commencing away at Aberavon on Saturday 12 April 2008.
Bedwas coach Steve Law
‘The big difference was that we took our chances from the opportunities we created whereas Maesteg had similar chances to score and in some respects were unlucky not to have more points. To play away and get a result against such a highly motivated side plus a bonus try point was very satisfactory, but our defence was below par compared to recent matches’
Maesteg coach Gareth Brown
‘It was a game we were geared up to win and elected to play with the wind to build up a lead as in previous matches we have elected to play against the wind and keep the margin down by half time. Against a strong side such as Bedwas the plan did not work on the day and we were 15-0 down at the interval. We certainly had chances to score but did not take them. Most of Bedwas’ tries came from our mistakes and we will have to pull something special out of the bag for the remaining four matches.’
Stuart Thomas, Nathan Hill, Jason Tovey, Gareth Miles, Jimmy Norris, John Welch (Captain), James Pizey, Gareth Leonard, Keiran Crawford, Keiron Crawford, Craig Powell, Adam Brown, Phil Sargent, Robert Downes, Andrew Tibbatts.
Gareth Crothers (Pizey 70 mins), Scott Horner (Norris 65 mins), Adam Hughes (Miles 48 mins), Brian Edwards (Crawford 30 mins), Dafydd Lewis (Leonard 66 mins), Neil Lewis (Tibbatts 70 mins), Brendon Lampitt (Sargent 70 mins)