Bedwas RFC 24 Newbridge RFC 39
Ben Francis Cup -final, Saturday 14 May 2022.
Match report and photography by Ian Lovell.
Newbridge were never behind on the day as superior pack size, accurate goal kicking and concession of fewer penalties deservedly earned them the Ben Francis Cup.
On a sunny, spring afternoon in the sunshine Newbridge started well and took the lead via an Eamon Rees penalty after thirteen minutes. Five minutes later Bedwas had no answer to the power of the Newbridge pack and big Number 8 Josh Jacas powered over for a try, Rees missing the conversion.
It got worse for Bedwas around the half hour as the Bedwas scrum was again under pressure and from the resulting penalty Eamon Rees increased their lead which was stretched further by a try in the corner by Stuart Vokes, converted by Rees.
Bedwas replaced Dale Rogers and Kalum Phillips with Mike Dacey and Rhys Hutcherson respectively to try and bolster the front row.
Two tries before half time put a better look to the scoreboard from a Bedwas perspective as first Ben Drew squeezed over and then a fine break by Dafydd Thomas earned him a five pointer. Bancroft converted the latter to make the half time score Newbridge 18 Bedwas 12.
Early Bedwas indiscipline bought Newbridge another penalty shot after forty-four minutes, Rees gladly taking the three points on offer.
Bedwas responded well and quickly. A well-executed catch and drive from thirty meters out saw the Bedwas forwards finally show some dominance and Mike Dacey was last man off the turf to claim the try. Matty Bancroft’s conversion narrowed the gap to two points and maybe, just maybe a comeback was on.
Those hopes rapidly disappeared with former Bedwas centre Lewis Hudd finding the space to cross for a try converted by Rees restoring their lead. Bedwas made further replacements, but it was all Newbridge from hereon in. Two Rees penalties one either side of a Cian Jones try in the corner (unconverted) put their side in an unassailable lead.
Bedwas had the last word as flanker Owen Jones burst through for an unconverted try with three minutes to play but it was too little, too late.
Bedwas RFC would like to thank its players, coaches and medical team, the Committee, volunteers, and it’s sponsors for their help and assistance in what has been a very disjointed season as we come out of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is hoped that the new season will bring more rugby with a regular fixture list. Planning for next season will begin soon and we will be revealing new signings over the next few weeks. Some players will, of course, be moving on to new adventures and we wish them well for the future.
Images from today’s game are at: Bedwas RFC’s albums | Flickr