Merthyr RFC 24 Bedwas RFC 37
Principality Welsh Premiership, Saturday 09 September 2017
Match report and photography by Ian Lovell.
Bedwas continued their scintillating early season form at Merthyr claiming a 4 try bonus point victory, a victory earned through tenacity and a never say die spirit.
Merthyr started at a fast pace and scored the first try of the afternoon as centre Terry Gee exploited a huge gap in the Bedwas defensive line to cross for a try. Matthew Jarvis added the extras to put his side 7 points to nil up with only four minutes played.
Steffan Jones notched a penalty for Bedwas five minutes later but scrum half Justin James’ try put his side further ahead and with the extras added by Matthew Jarvis put his side further ahead.
Bedwas dug deep and attacked the home defence. Merthyr captain Craig Locke was probably fortunate not to see at least a yellow card for a high tackle and throw to the floor on Luke Crane before Bedwas hit back with a penalty try. A kick towards the home line saw a Bedwas player taken out without the ball and the referee immediately awarded a penalty try-an automatic seven points this season. Former Bedwas hooker Richard Wilkes was deemed the guilty party and was given a yellow card for his sins.
With the interval approaching Jones and Jarvis exchanged penalty kicks to see the half end with Bedwas holding onto a slender one point advantage.
It took Bedwas just two second minutes to extend their lead. Good work by the forwards saw quick ball to the backs and the ball spread wide for George Gasson to cross for a try, Steffan Jones successfully converted from out wide.
Merthyr prop Joe Rees crossed for a try to reduce the deficit to a solitary point before Steffan Jones got on the end of his own kick through to restore the Bedwas lead. Jones added the extras and with just over twenty minutes to play Bedwas began to believe the win was possible.
Merthyr had other ideas and back rower Tom Daley crossed for an unconverted try to bring his side within three points. Bedwas replacement prop Brynley Toms was sinbinned on 59 minutes after repeated Bedwas infringements saw the referee use the only sanction available and brandish a yellow card.
With Bedwas a man short Merthyr sensed a chance to go for the jugular but the remaining 14 Bedwas men dug deep and tackled everything that moved to prevent further Merthyr scores.
With four minutes remaining Bedwas clinched the bonus point try as Andrew Waite picked off a stray Richard Powell pass to make big yards into the home defence, Chris Budgen took the ball a few metres further before the ball was moved quickly wide to Ollie Halford on the right wing who dived over for a try. Steffan Jones added the conversion to put Bedwas ten points clear with four minutes left on the clock.
Bedwas were not finished, with the clock ticking down Steffan Jones kicked a penalty from 55 metres to make certain of the win. There was still time for Merthyr to try and salvage something from the game but the Bedwas defence defied them as the visitors held on for a thoroughly deserved win.
Next Saturday Bedwas host Rhymney Valley neighbours Bargoed RFC, kick off at 2-30pm.