Bedwas RFC 16 Llanelli RFC 22
Principality Welsh Premiership, Saturday 31 January 2009
Report adapted from Western Mail article, photographs by Ian Lovell
Luke Richards rescued the league leaders by kicking 17 points, while lowly Bedwas finished with two tries to one.
Richards landed a conversion and dropped goal as well as putting over all his four penalty attempts.
The 29-year-old outside-half sidestepped praise, but agreed his kicking “was going well.”
A losers’ bonus mark for finishing within seven points of the winners was small consolation for Law’s team.
They certainly did not look a side with only three league wins this season – all at home – against Llanelli’s 13.
Emphasising the mobility up front, the two home locks, Adam Brown and Hywel Jenkins, each scored a try near the end.
Jenkins, in only his second game after a 12-match ban, was yellow-carded in the 11th minute. And Llanelli’s try scorer, prop Simon Gardner, was sin-binned 14 minutes later.
A heavy pitch and sharp wind were testing conditions which the teams coped with well. Mistakes were inevitable, yet there were some bold handling moves.
Bedwas skipper Deri Mattravers and Stuart Phillips shared the spotlight with Llanelli’s back row for their workrate. Behind, both sides’ centres had dangerous moments.
In the lineout, Llanelli’s Dan Godfrey and Adam Powell had a great battle with Brown. And the catching of the two full-backs and four wings was outstanding in the conditions.
Llanelli, who clinched a league double, were a player short on the bench because of various calls, but called up only one replacement in prop Ian Jones. They probably reasoned this had developed into such a stern challenge they could not risk losing momentum.
A Richards penalty and dropped goal gave Llanelli an early lead which Gethin Worgan cancelled out with two penalties before Richards earned a 9-6 interval advantage.
Facing the wind , Bedwas were nearly over early in the second half. James Pizey, Worgan, Phil Dolman and Stuart Thomas swept in, only for Brendan Lampitt to be checked just short of the line.
Two Richards’ penalties put Llanelli 15-6 up before Brown’s 68th-minute try. From a scrum, Mattravers burst away, supported by replacement scrum-half Alex Walker. Worgan was up there, too, before Brown crossed.
Two minutes later, Gardner pounced after a quickly-taken penalty.
Bedwas were far from finished, and in the 78th minute Jenkins went over after Mattravers had been halted.
Llanelli were recalling after the match that they have had their highs and lows at Bridge Field. And they finished last season well down the table with 10 wins – one fewer than Bedwas.
Take heart, Bedwas – the current campaign has still some way to go.
Llanelli head of rugby Anthony Buchanan
“If we are to take the title we have to win tough matches like this, and this really was tough.”
Bedwas Head Coach Steve Law
“I’m very disappointed with the result. We weren’t clinical enough, but no one could deny our effort.”