Bedwas RFC 31 Neath RFC 25
Principality Welsh Premiership, Saturday 24 September 2016.
Match report and photography by Ian Lovell.
Two unconverted Bedwas tries in the first seven minutes looked to have laid the foundations for a comfortable home win but Neath had other ideas and came within a whisker of snatching the spoils.
Bedwas were five points ahead within three minutes of kick off with George Gasson diving over for a try, Richard Powell’s conversion rebounding to safety off a post. Robson Blake grabbed a second Bedwas try after seven minutes, again unconverted to put Bedwas firmly in command.
Neath regrouped and after a patient build up through several phases the ball worked its way right to winger Aaron Grabham who gleefully took the try scoring opportunity. Luke Price added the conversion.
Bedwas continued to press and prop Matthew Pettit looked to have increased the home lead only for the try to be chalked off for a forward pass. Brynley Toms was next to cross for another disallowed try as the referee ruled home forwards were offside at a ruck.
Pat Lewis settled home nerves when he won the race to a loose ball to increase the home lead, Powell adding the conversion on this occasion.
For the next fifteen minutes or so both sides couldn’t find a way to add to their scores although Neath were next to get the score board moving again courtesy of a Luke Price penalty. Two Richard Powell penalties either side of Neath left wing Kristian Corbisiero’s try, converted by Price saw the score at half time Bedwas 23 Neath 17.
An early second half Richard Powell penalty settled Bedwas nerves but Aaron Bramwell’s sin binning an off the ball foul made the Bedwas task harder with Neath’s backs running the ball back at pace only for wrong options to be taken with try scoring chances appearing.
Bedwas fluency largely disappeared and although once restored to equal numbers as Bramwell re-entered the fray things appeared to settle down. Bedwas were soon down to fourteen men again as Matthew Pettit was sinbinned. Again despite superior numbers Neath couldn’t find a way through the home defence.
Price added his second penalty of the afternoon with six minutes left to play to reduce the Bedwas lead to six points and Neath sensed a chance to take the win. With one minute of normal time remaining full back Ed Howley was quickest to react to a poor Bedwas clearing kick to cross for a try. Outside half Luke Price somehow missed his conversion attempt which would have put his side ahead for the first time and may have seen them snatch an unlikely win.
Bedwas had other ideas. After gaining a penalty which was kicked to touch the home side worked the ball to prop forward Dan Preece to charge through and cross for a fourth Bedwas try and with it a bonus point. The conversion attempt went wide but the final whistle followed shortly afterwards to the relief of all those following the home side. This win elevates Bedwas to a very healthy third position in the league table.
Next Saturday Bedwas travel west to Church Bank, Llandovery which will be another tough test.