Aberavon RFC 33 Bedwas RFC 25
Principality Welsh Premiership, Saturday 18 February 2012.
Match report by John Meredith, photography by Ian Lovell.
Bedwas have never won at the Talbot Athletic ground, home of the ‘Wizards’ and that statistic will remain after Aberavon staged a second half fight back to claim a bonus point win and leave Bedwas with nothing for their efforts.
Director of rugby Steve Law shuffled his forward pack bringing back Brendan Lampitt at lock, Aaron Fowler at hooker and Sam Feehan at number 8. The backs saw one change with Kristian Owen coming in on the wing in place of Tommy Watkins.
Bedwas had the benefit of a strong wind at their backs for the first half, so strong that Powell’s kick off was too long and went dead. After a period of neither side being dominant Bedwas took the lead. A Bedwas scrum on the home 25 saw the ball spread wide to Stuart Thomas who crossed unopposed in the right hand corner. Richard Powell stroked through an excellent conversion kick. It got better for Bedwas minutes later when Powell added a penalty goal from halfway after Aberavon were penalised at a ruck.
Aberavon fought back went through many phases over a number of minutes before a loose pass was intercepted by Smerdon who ran 80 metres just managing to avoid a try saving tackle to cross wide left. Again Powell successfully added a tricky conversion.
Aberavon fought hard to get back into the game and were rewarded with a try from Jamie Davies, the same player missing the conversion. From the restart Aberavon were penalised at a ruck and Powell extended Bedwas’s lead from the resulting penalty. Not to be outdone Aberavon gained a penalty in front of the Bedwas posts and their own points machine Jamie Davies added the goal to make the half time score Aberavon 8 Bedwas 20.
The question on Bedwas fans lips was ‘is 12 points a big enough lead?’ Most thought it probably wasn’t.
It didn’t take the home side long to begin to reduce the deficit. Straight onto the front foot the home side earnt an early penalty before winning an attacking line out and spreading the ball wide for centre Richard Thomas crossed for a try, Davies added the conversion. It was all Aberavon at this stage and all Bedwas hands to the pump to repel attack after attack. The home side earnt a scrum deep in Bedwas territory and resulted in Dan Davies adding a try that went unconverted but tied up the scores.
Aberavon continued to attack and were rewarded when Bedwas were adjudged to have committed too many indiscretions and Feehan was sin binned after a ruck offence. Jamie Davies converted the penalty from close range in front of the posts and the home side led for the first time in the match.
Bedwas tried to get back into the game and bought on replacements for tired legs. It was not to be however as the Wizards extended their lead courtesy of Davies’s boot.
Bedwas tried to get back into the game but errors were costly. A knock on saw the home side gain possession from a scum and back rower Darryl Thomas was on hand to cross out wide to earn his side a four try bonus point, Davies added the conversion.
There was still time for Bedwas to run in a try out wide by Kristian Owen but unfortunately Powell’s kick into the wind drifted across the front of the posts and the chance of a losing bonus point drifted with it.