Aberavon RFC 28 Bedwas RFC 9.
Principality Welsh Premiership, Saturday 06 May 2017.
Match report and photography by Ian Lovell.
Two tries in four first half minutes gave Aberavon a commanding lead which an under par Bedwas were unable to recover from as the home side earned the win which will give them home advantage in next week’s play-off semi-final.
The game started off at a reasonable pace as both sides sized each other up Bedwas taking the lead via the left boot of James S Dixon after the home side were adjudged offside with ten minutes played. Dixon added a second penalty after 17 minutes to double his sides lead.
Aberavon came back strongly and a penalty to touch set up a driving maul which saw prop Rowan Jenkins driven over for a try converted by James Garland. A third Dixon penalty edged Bedwas back in front before Garland notched a penalty to restore his sides’ advantage.
The following four minutes proved decisive. A second home try this time hooker Ieaun Davies being last off the turf following a driving maul went unconverted but before Bedwas could recover their composure a quickly taken tap penalty by scrum half David Pritchard saw him dart through to touch down under the posts. Garland adding the conversion to put give his side a 13 points advantage.
Rhys Verley replaced the injured Joe Davies as the second half kicked off as Bedwas hoped to find an answer to the dominance of the home sides’ scrum and line out. Aberavon looked for a way through using their pacy wingers but Bedwas’ defence kept them out as the game became a wrestle.
Bedwas rang the changes after 55 minutes as the entire front row were replaced along with Nathan Hudd entering the fray in place of Geraint Edmunds. With Adam Williams and Luke Crane coming on around the hour mark Bedwas had fresh runners to get back into the game, but it was the home side who scored next as Garland notched another penalty goal.
James Dixon replaced his namesake James S Dixon after 65 minutes as Bedwas tried to get into the game. Home prop Alex Jeffries was sin-binned for back chat with 69 minutes elapsed but the one man advantage Bedwas held was unable to be exploited.
Mathew John had a try ruled out for a foot in touch as he burst down the left hand flank but Aberavon resolutely defended, Bedwas errors were also compounding the situation.
Replacement Steffen Williams kicked a last minute penalty for the home side to complete the scoring and saw Bedwas finish a game without scoring a try for the first time this season.
Next week sees Bedwas return to Aberavon as both sides look for a win which will see them into the play-off finals against Merthyr or RGC. This match will take place on Sunday 14th May 2017, kick off 3-30pm.