Neath RFC 10 Bedwas RFC 40
Principality Welsh Premiership, Saturday 17th February 2018.
Match report and photography by Ian Lovell.
Bedwas got back to winning ways as a dominant first half swept Neath away.
Bedwas opened their account after only 4 minutes. A driving maul which marched the Neath pack back 30 metres at lightning speed was deemed to be stopped illegally by the home defenders, the referee immediately awarding Bedwas a penalty try. To compound matters for the home side winger Aled Jenkins was adjudged the guilty party and a yellow card issued.
Bedwas took advantage of the extra man and good work by the pack saw scrum half Tom Rowlands driven over for a try, Steffan Jones adding the conversion.
Neath reduced arrears after 13 minutes courtesy of an Edward Howley penalty goal after Bedwas were adjudged offside at a ruck.
Their joy was short-lived as Bedwas continued to dominate and a break down the right flank started by Jones, continued by Craig Hudd and the supporting Tom Rowlands was finished off in the corner by James Richards. Once again Steffan Jones added the extras.
Bedwas claimed the four try bonus point after 21 minutes, once again the pack did the work allowing Tom Rowlands the chance to snipe in from close range to cross for a try again converted by Jones.
Although Bedwas continued to dominate no further scores until just before the interval as Tom Rowlands found a gap in the home defence to stretch out and claim his hat-trick try; Jones’s conversion put Bedwas 35 points to 3 ahead.
With the game won and being mindful that his team had played little rugby in recent weeks head coach Ian Gardner made wholesale changes to his team as seven replacements in two tranches were made to give players some game time.
It didn’t initially affect play as Adam Williams despite howls of protest from the home fans that the pass to Williams was forward found room to run in down the right wing and cross for an unconverted try.
With the game firmly in the bag Bedwas could take their collective feet off the gas pedal and see out the game conserving energy for future challenges. This allowed the home side much more possession which finally bought its reward after 66 minutes as fly half Iwan Evans crossed after patient approach work by his colleagues. Howley added the extras to put his side in double figures.
Any hope his side had of a comeback were soon extinguished as Bedwas were able to contain any attack and the game finished without further scoring.
Bedwas will be hoping to continue the winning ways over the next seven days as they travel to Beddau in Round 2 of the National Cup on Wednesday 21 February (k.o. 7-15pm) and then host Bridgend on Saturday 24th February (k.o. 11-00am) in the Welsh Premiership.