Bridgend RFC 13 Bedwas RFC 19
Principality Welsh Premiership, Saturday 19 November 2011.
Match report by John Meredith, photography by Ian Lovell.
Bedwas visited in form Bridgend on a dry November afternoon, the home side on a run of four consecutive victories, including the scalps of Neath on their own soil and Cross Keys and Newport away.
Bedwas supporters expected a tough game against a side anxious to prove a point to the WRU following their exclusion from the new look Premier Division for 2012.
Bedwas made five changes from the side that played Newport last week, Tommy Watkins coming in on the wing, Gareth Williams at lock, and Scot Roberts at loose head prop. A reshuffle in the back row saw Sam Feehan start at blind side flanker, Simon Grainger at open side and Deri Mattravers lead the team from Number 8.
Bridgend had the first opportunity to open the scoring after Bedwas were penalised for holding on but Flanagan’s kick went wide. He wasn’t to be denied for long; from the restart Bridgend forwards and backs combined to spread the ball wide and Flanagan crossed in the corner, the same player adding the conversion from the touch line. It was all Bridgend at this stage and Flanagan missed a further penalty chance as Bedwas were adjudged offside.
Bedwas finally managed to put a few moves together, Powell missing with a penalty attempt after the home side were penalised at a scrum. On the half hour lead Flanagan increased his side’s advantage to 10 points to 0 before Bedwas attacked in numbers and quick hands saw Iain Smerdon cross out wide, Powell adding the conversion. Bedwas continued to press and put some good passages of play together but the score remained at 10-7 at the interval.
Bedwas were back in the match early in the second half when Powell struck a magnificent 40 metre penalty. Bridgend should have regained the lead almost straight away but Flanagan’s penalty attempt went wide after Bedwas were penalised at a ruck. Both kickers then had successful penalty attempts to see the scores level at 13 points each as both sides looked for the killer score to win the match.
Bedwas continued to press and gained the upper hand when home hooker Arthur Ellis was sin binned following a ruck offence. Powell kicked the resulting penalty to put Bedwas ahead by three points although the win still looked a long way off. A Flanagan penalty attempt hit a post and was cleared before Powell extended Bedwas’s lead after the home side were penalised at a scrum.
Bridgend threatened to the death with an attacking line out deep in Bedwas territory but the throw was deemed not straight and Bedwas were able to clear from the resulting scrum. Strong defence by the entire visiting fifteen kept out a strong home effort and Bedwas claimed a deserved win.
Bedwas man of the match: Simon Grainger grafted doing the hard work around the fringes to keep the home attack on the back foot.