Neath RFC 27 Bedwas RFC 12
Principality Welsh Premiership, Saturday 26 November 2011.
Match report and photography by Ian Lovell
Four first half penalty goals to give Bedwas a half time 12 points to 8 advantage were not enough as Neath turned on the style in the second half and Bedwas hopes were blown away at a wet and windy Gnoll.
Neath felt they should have been awarded an early try after a Dai Langdon penalty fell just short of the uprights. However, the officials failed to spot centre Aaron Bramwell dabbing down, and Neath had to be content with a put in at a scrum five. No 8 Adam Powell picked up and broke, but failed to get downward pressure on the ball.
With a strong wind at their backs for the first half Bedwas needed a couple of tries to complement the golden boot of Powell, who placed penalties in the 3rd, 20th, 27th and 33rd minutes, the third of which was five metres into his own half. Neath outside half Langdon drilled over a 25th minute penalty that reduced arrears at the time to 6-3. Bedwas hooker Aaron Fowler was binned for persistent offside in the 28th minute.
The paid the price six minutes later as the 14 men leaked a corner try to wing David Evans. That trimmed the deficit to 12-8, the score remaining the same until the break with Bedwas turning around into the strong wind and rain.
The 51st-minute introduction of scrum-half Chris Morgans put some injected some vigour into Neath’s play, and it was not long before he breezed over for an unconverted try.
After Bedwas talisman Powell missed out with a 56th-minute penalty attempt, the game soon slipped away from Bedwas’s grasp. Alert play from Morgans saw him swing scrum-five ball right for flying wing Kevin James to collect a sizzling corner try that Langdon complemented with a superb conversion, although the Bedwas coaching team felt he didn’t ground the ball their protests were not withheld.
Neath put the game to bed with the bonus point try in the 63rd minute after centre Gareth McCarthy saw a grubber kick accelerate on the wet surface. Full-back Alec Jenkins was very quickly on to the loose ball to touchdown that Langdon once more improved on.
Bedwas worked hard to prevent their opponents add any further scores but did not threaten the home line whilst being solid in defence. The only time they threatened the Neath try-line was during final play when Ryan Howells broke from close to his 22, however he was hauled down by scrum-half Morgans on the home 22, Neath clearing the ball to touch and the sound of the final whistle.