Bedwas RFC 19 Llanelli RFC 21
Principality Welsh Premiership, Friday 09 March 2012.
Match by John Meredith, photography by Ian Lovell
A committed performance earnt Bedwas a losing bonus point their efforts at the least deserved.
This was Bedwas’s first league match since February 18th and the last one until the final away trip of the season to Carmarthen Quins on March 30th. Rhys Hutcherson started at hooker and James Murphy made a welcome return at second row after a long injury lay-off. Josh Guy started at scrum half and Darren Humphries made his home league debut at centre.
With Llanelli still in the hunt for end of season honours this was destined to be a tough task for a Bedwas side having a poor run of form.
Llanelli opened the scoring with a Diggy Bird penalty after the home side strayed offside. They extended that lead after a Bedwas line was lost on their own five metre line and Justin James crossed out wide, Bird unsuccessful with his conversion. Bedwas were under the cosh and again penalised for offside but Birds penalty hit a post and was cleared.
Bedwas fought to get back into the game and felt aggrieved that a deliberate Llanelli knock on was only penalised with a penalty instead of what should have been a straightforward yellow card. Powell stepped up and calmly slotted the kick. Bedwas were their own worst enemies though; straight from the restart indiscipline at a ruck gifted the visitor’s three points.
The home side fought back Hutcherson’ s break was improved by a neat kick ahead by Powell but the Bedwas attackers knocked on 10 metres from the line. From the ensuing scrum Bedwas gained a penalty, Powell adding the kick.
Llanelli were not to be denied and after a period of possession added a penalty by Bird. Bedwas countered from the restart, a storming run by Murphy saw him tackled just short of the try line and the ball cleared up field. Bird missed a dropped goal attempt for the visitors before Wardle charged down the Llanelli left. Visiting hooker Hawkins snuffed out the attack illegally and saw a yellow card. In my opinion this should have turned to red for back chat and an eye ball to eye ball confrontation with a Bedwas prop which saw the Llanelli player throw a punch. Powell remained calm and slotted the penalty just ahead of the half time whistle.
Both sides vied for field position in a frantic start to the second half. Bedwas claimed the first points, however. A strong run by Stuart Thomas found Kris Owen and was backed up by evergreen Deri Mattravers who crossed wide of the posts, Powell kicked the conversion.
From the restart good inter passing by Bedwas saw Murphy again tackled close to the line before gaining a penalty on the Llanelli left. Powell was wide of the mark with what for him was a standard chance. He made amends a few minutes later from similar range on the other side of the pitch and Bedwas were 19-14 ahead.
From the restart Powell’s long clearance kick unfortunately went dead for a scrum back in Bedwas territory and the pressure finally told as James grabbed his second try of the evening improved upon by Bird.
Both sides threw everything into the game to try and secure the points but the visitors prevailed as Bedwas couldn’t find the killer touch to clinch the final score.
Bedwas Man of the Match: James Murphy