Newport RFC 17 Bedwas RFC 23
Principality Welsh Premiership, Saturday 10 December 2011.
Match report by John Meredith, photography by Ian Lovell
Bedwas visited the new look Rodney Parade on a cold but bright December afternoon with the home side anxious to gain revenge for last months beating at Bedwas and halt their run of six successive defeats.
Bedwas made several changes from the defeat at Neath two weeks ago, Brendan Lampitt starting at lock in place of the injured James Murphy, young Cardiff University student Craig Lodge making his debut also at lock after Gareth Williams withdrew injured. Captain Phil Sargent was also a late withdrawal, the team being led by Deri Mattravers.
Newport took the lead after via a Lewis Robling penalty after Bedwas were penalised for offside in front of the posts after 5 minutes. Bedwas responded with stout defence before Robling increased the Black and Ambers lead when he scored a try under the sticks and added the conversion for a 10-0 lead.
As Bedwas tried to get back into the game Powell missed his first shot at goal but was successful with his next two attempts as Bedwas came back into the game, Powell keeping the home side on the back foot with excellent game management. Bedwas gained the lead shortly before the interval when prop Hugh Gustafson burst through to cross out wide, Powell added the conversion for a 13-10 advantage.
Newport tried to up the tempo for the second half but Bedwas defended well and Newport’s efforts came to nought. A mistake in midfield was seized upon by Bedwas winger Tommy Watkins who gleefully touched down under the sticks, Powell converted and Bedwas were in the box seat. Wardle came close to adding a clinching Bedwas try as Newport tried to repel wave after wave of Bedwas attacks before Powell added a third penalty. With Bedwas leading 23-10 the game was sealed but Newport came back when Will Rees Hole scored a consolation try with less than three minutes remaining, converted by Robling to earn their side a losing bonus point.
Bedwas regained their composure and hung on for a deserved win and in doing so completed the double over their Gwent neighbours.
Bedwas Man of the Match: Richard Powell put in a superb effort, his game management skills outstanding. Debutant lock Craig Lodge also had a superb game, stealing line out ball in a very impressive debut.