Neath RFC 15 Bedwas RFC 14
Principality Welsh Premiership, Saturday 03 January 2015.
Match report and photography by Ian Lovell.
A late rally earned Bedwas a losing bonus point which although welcome was probably not deserved as Neath dominated this game for long periods, Bedwas only managing to stay in the game due to Dai Langdon’s missed penalty attempts.
Langdon was on target with his first penalty attempt with only two minutes on the clock. Neath continued to pressure Bedwas into mistakes and increased their lead after ten minutes through flanker Steffan Jones, Langdon adding the extras.
Bedwas were finding it difficult to get out of their own half and when they did they turned over possession or conceded penalties. Langdon missed three penalty chances on 23, 26 and 37 minutes which would have given his side an unassailable lead. Shortly before half time Neath right wing Jamie Davies suffered an injury competing for a high ball, the second half being delayed by twenty minutes whilst the ambulance arrived and Davies stretchered off. Bedwas RFC wish him a speedy recovery.
The delay didn’t appear to affect his colleagues too much and Neath were soon back on the attack, although the hapless Langdon was still unable to find the target as he missed another shot at goal after 49 minutes.
Bedwas’s own ace kicker Richard Powell entered the fray on 52 minutes replacing Jack Maynard. Powell’s first task being a kick at goal from the half way line, which although on target was just short.
Arron Coundley’s yellow card after 55 minutes gave Bedwas hope but they were unable to take advantage of the extra man. Indeed Wilkes’s somewhat harsh yellow card shortly before Coundley returned to the field after a touch judge spotted an offence gave Neath the extra man and after Bedwas failed to clear a relieving kick centre Ashley Evans ran through for a try, Langdon missing the conversion.
Bedwas picked themselves up and took the game to Neath. Pinches made a couple of good breaks and then Phill Rees went agonisingly close to scoring but unfortunately knocking the ball on a metre short of the line. Bedwas were not to be denied though and on the next attack the home defence conceded a penalty try, with Langdon being despatched to the sin bin. Powell converted and Bedwas were back in the game.
Five minutes later Josh Walker found the space to gallop through for a try unopposed, touching down under the sticks to give Powell a simple shot at the extras. Bedwas supporters probably began to think that despite having played so poorly that their side could claim the spoils. With four minutes left they had a chance but Powell missed with his long range penalty shot and Neath breathed a huge sigh of relief and saw out the remainder of the game.
Next week (Saturday 10 January 2015) Bedwas take a break from league rugby as they host Pontypool in the Swalec Cup, kick off 2-30pm.