Swansea RFC 15 Bedwas RFC 13
Principality Welsh Premiership, Saturday 26 December 2009.
Match report and photography by Ian Lovell
BEDWAS deserved more than just a losing bonus point from a hard-fought Boxing Day game at St Helens. Bedwas led for all but the last 10 minutes of a game where defences were on top and both sides pretty much cancelled each other out.
The scrums and line outs were evenly fought but Bedwas had an edge at the breakdowns and won a lot of turnovers.
But the All Whites were in no mood to concede a first win at St Helens for the visitors since the inception of regional rugby.
The turning point of the match came when Bedwas had full-back Andrew McLoughlin harshly sin-binned for an offence at a ruck when it appeared it was the Swansea defender was lying on top of the ball preventing release. The extra man gave Swansea the impetus to deliver the killer punch.
Bedwas dominated early on and skipper and lock Hywel Jenkins forced his way over after a series of close-range rucks to nudge his side in front after 15 minutes. Gethin Worgan missing the conversion
Outside-half James Dixon kicked a penalty eight minutes later, although he and full-back Nicky Thomas both missed long-range efforts, one from just inside the Bedwas half. It remained 5-3 to the visitors at half time.
Soon after the interval, centre Chris Shelmerdine made a lovely run but lost the ball and Bedwas ran it back with centre Tom Cooper making good ground as Bedwas defended resolutely. Bedwas extended their lead when outside half Gethin Worgan chipped ahead and Nicky Thomas failed to hold on to the ball, allowing McLoughlin to pick up and score. Once again Worgan was unable to add the extras.
Swansea leveled the scores after some strong pressure when Dixon sent a long pass to blindside winger Hanno Dirksen, who flew over at the posts for Dixon to convert.
Bedwas fought back and Worgan kicked a penalty to put Bedwas back in front but McLoughlin got his yellow card and the All Whites pounced against the 14 men.
After winning a line out, the home forwards went through some phases just inside the Bedwas half before Dixon fed Shelmerdine, who made a fine break, and then passed to Nicky Thomas, who weaved past two defenders for the match-winning try and leave Bedwas with the consolation of a losing bonus point on a day when their efforts deserved better.
Bedwas need to pick themselves up for the visit of Aberavon on Saturday 2 January 2010, kick off 2-30 pm, weather permitting as heavy snow is forecast for South Wales from Tuesday 29 December.