Bedwas Lose in Lack-Lustre Match
Bedwas RFC 14 Bridgend RFC 17. Premier Division, Saturday 19 April 08
Match report by Geoff Watkins, photography by Ian Lovell.
A grafting, hard slog of a match with little to enthuse over, the misty rain swept muddy pitch certainly not helping. Unforced errors galore resulting in constant whistle blowing which prevented any fluency in movement. Bridgend, third from bottom, gave their all in a gritty performance against a strangely disjointed Bedwas side, both sides with a solitary try and four penalties against three. The result, along with the other match results keeping the table exactly the same as the previous week with Bedwas remaining in eighth place in the fourteen clubs Premier Division.
Bedwas had the chance of an early score within two minutes but the penalty attempt was well wide and threatened again when hooker Keiran Crawford was pulled down just short of the line, but gained a 6th minute penalty by full back Stuart Thomas. Bridgend using the strong wind to kick long for field position for a penalty by centre Gareth David just one minute later to level the scores. Already, and going into the second quarter there had been a hatful of errors from both sides, Bedwas having difficulty playing into the wind, Bridgend with a certain try in sight knocked on and the chance was gone. Once again the home side conceded another in front of posts penalty after 25 minutes which Gareth David gratefully accepted, and then added a third penalty, a long straight wind assisted kick on the half hour. Bedwas finding themselves desperately defending their line as four minutes of injury time was played out, the score 9-3 at the interval. The first half saw ten penalties and a free kick awarded, seven penalties against Bedwas, the remaining three penalties and the free kick against Bridgend.
The Bridgefield club changed jerseys at half time and took the field with three replacements. Bridgend, with replacements on, resorted to their effective driving mauls, the pressure rewarded when lock/captain Mike Powell was driven over for a 47th minute try. Bedwas responding with a 51st minute penalty by Stuart Thomas from fully 42 metres and put together the only fluid move of the match, the ball passed along the line for Adam Hughes to cross at the corner. ‘Lady Luck’ deserting them as the high touchline conversion hit the post. As conditions worsened, Brian Edwards replaced hooker Keiran Crawford on 65 minutes and prop Gareth Leonard with Dafydd Lewis after 70 minutes for the final all-important ten minutes.
Stuart Thomas accurate with a 42-metre penalty to level the scores after 72 minutes, and the match came alight with all to play for. The Ravens mounted a huge effort back to the home line, Bedwas recovering and running well out of defence but kicked possession away. Two minutes into injury time flanker Phil Sargent was sin-binned for an illegal tackle and once again Bridgend surged back. The last kick of the match in the fourth minute of injury time saw Gareth David slot the match-winning penalty leaving Bedwas with just a losing bonus point.
The final two matches of the season, away to Newport on Saturday 26 April and home to Aberavon on Saturday 3 May 2008 will be hard tasks considering the squads’ long injury list.
Stuart Thomas, Scott Horner, Adam Hughes, Dai Atkins, Jimmy Norris, John Welch, James Pizey, Gareth Leonard, Keiran Crawford, Jon Salter, Rhodri Edwards, Craig Powell, Phil Sargent, Robert Downes, Brendan Lampitt.
Gareth Crothers (not used), Brian Edwards (Crawford 65 mins), Keiron Crawford (Salter h/t), Dafydd Lewis (Leonard 70 mins), Neil Lewis (not used), Andrew Tibbatts (Lampitt h/t), Andrew James (Horner h/t)