Pontypool RFC 16 Bedwas RFC 6
Principality Welsh Premiership, Saturday 26 December 2011.
Match report by John Meredith, photography by Ian Lovell.
Bedwas let a slender half time advantage slip to present victory to Pooler in a disappointing second half at a wet Pontypool Park on Boxing Day.
With both sides showing good form of late much was expected of this clash of Gwent rivals. Bedwas made two changes to the starting line up from the previous week, Kieron Jenkins at tight head prop and Iain Smerdon coming in at centre.
The game started well for Bedwas, Pontypool were penalised at a ruck and points machine Powell duly kicked the penalty goal to put Bedwas 3 points to the good. Pontypool hit back but Hancock’s penalty attempt hit a post. Hancock wasn’t to be denied for long and after some pressure on the Bedwas line he claimed a smart drop goal to level the game.
Both sides had chances to grab further scores but their handling skills were lacking. Bedwas regained the lead after 15 minutes when Powell added his second penalty goal after Pooler were adjudged offside. The pattern of promising rugby only to lose possession continued for both sides, and eventually half time was reached with no addition to the scoring.
Pontypool came out for the second half in determined mood and put the Bedwas defence under huge pressure. Bedwas old boy Ryan Owen was proving to be a real threat and on one break was finally hauled down 3 metres from the line. Bedwas’s resolute defence finally cracked with a penalty for offside awarded to the home side and Hancock again took the points.
Bedwas hit back and thought they had managed to work a try in the corner from Kristian Owen but the try scoring pass was judged forward and the score disallowed.
Pontypool continued to put Bedwas under great pressure, this mounting pressure saw the visitors commit to many indiscretions and Brendan Lampitt found himself sin binned for ‘killing the ball’. Bedwas continued to defend well despite being a man down before Hancock added a penalty goal from in front of the sticks after Bedwas were adjudged offside.
Despite the huge defensive effort Bedwas were not down and out. One last attack saw Bedwas look to get something from the game before disaster struck and Powell’s long range pass was picked off by Dan Robinson who sprinted through and scored a try under the sticks. Hancock added the conversion with the last kick of the game as the referee immediately blew for full time.
Bedwas visit Cross Keys on Monday 2 January for what is certain to be another keenly contested Gwent derby, kick off 2-30pm.