Cardiff RFC 23 Bedwas RFC 26
Principality Welsh Premiership, Saturday 14 January 2012.
Match report by John Meredith, photography by Ian Lovell.
''Probably the best 40 minutes of rugby I’ve ever seen Bedwas play.'' ''That was the mother of all come backs.'' These are just two of the superlatives from the lips of happy Bedwas supporters who saw their side overturn a 17 point half time deficit to record an epic win at Cardiff’s Arms Park on Saturday.
Bedwas made several changes to the starting line-up following on from last weeks disappointing performance versus Bridgend. Craig Lodge at lock, Aaron Fowler at hooker, Tommy Watkins at wing and Stuart Thomas back at fullback amongst the changes.
It was a cold, but dry afternoon that greeted Bedwas in the capital.
Cardiff started strongly and outside half Gareth Davies put his side ahead from a penalty kick after Bedwas were adjudged offside. They increased their lead after a Bedwas mistake at a lineout; their number 8 Reuben Tucker driving over for a try, Davies added the extras and Cardiff were 10 points ahead.
Bedwas tried to get back into the game but unforced errors saw attacks unrewarded. However Bedwas were undeterred and gained a penalty after Cardiff were adjudged offside. Powell needed no second invitation and gained the three points from wide of the goal. From the restart the home side were penalised for holding on and again Powell took the points.
Cardiff extended their lead from the boot of Davies after Bedwas were penalised for breaking too soon from a scrum. From the restart Cardiff drove up field and scored a good try in the corner by Shaun Powell after good passing between forwards and backs. Davies added the conversion. Cardiff had their tales up at this stage and slick play by their backs saw them advance to close to the Bedwas line but they were then penalised for holding on. Cardiff kept Bedwas on the back foot and gained the reward of a penalty in front of the posts after Bedwas were penalised for not releasing a tackled player. Davies stroked the penalty kick through the posts to put his side in a commanding 23points to 6 ahead at the break.
At this stage it didn’t look good for Bedwas and having been comprehensively outplayed for the first half Bedwas supporters feared the worst.
To their credit Bedwas started the half brightly Watkins making a good break down the right but was tackled short of the line but Bedwas gained a penalty kicked to touch by Powell. Having regained possession Sam Feehan crashed through for a try, but found his efforts in vain after the referee ruled out the try. Bedwas huffed and puffed but couldn’t break the defence and Cardiff seemed to be able to resist all offensive Bedwas moves.
However from a counter attack Kristian Owen broke through for a try in the right hand corner, unfortunately Powell was unable to add the extras.
Bedwas scented blood, and following good work by replacement hooker Hutcherson Sam Feehan crossed in virtually the same spot as Powell who again was unable to add the conversion. Cardiff found their backs against the wall and Bedwas began to find their rhythm. Cardiff illegally snuffed out a Bedwas attack which saw their replacement prop Trevett sin binned, Powell confidently kicked the ensuing penalty from the half way line.
Bedwas continued to work hard and won a line out and quickly spread the ball wide. Last receiver Wardle gathered the ball 40 metres out and powered his way over to put his side 24 points to 23 up. Powell’s conversion agonisingly hit a post and rebounded to safety. Any hopes of a recovery Cardiff may have had were quickly nipped in the bud as Powell kicked a penalty from the restart to put his side 4 points ahead.
Bedwas closed out the game to hold on for a deserved win which looked unlikely at half time.
Man of the Match: Rory Wood had a busy afternoon and kept the ball moving putting pressure on his opponents.
Bedwas visit high flying Llandovery next Saturday (21 January), kick off 2-30 pm)