Bedwas RFC 23 Carmarthen Quins RFC 18
Fosters Challenge Cup final, Saturday 01 April 2017.
Match report and photography by Ian Lovell.
Bedwas ended their silverware drought to claim the Fosters Challenge Cup after a hard fought contest between two evenly matched sides.
After an opening ten minutes where both sides competed for an opening it was the Quins who opened the scoring, following good patience and after a number of phases across the pitch back rower Shaun Evans crossed for a try. Outside half Steffan Marshall missed the conversion.
From the restart Bedwas gained a penalty in front of the posts and Richard Powell made no mistake to reduce the arrears.
Marshall extended the Quins lead after 18 minutes with a penalty after Bedwas were adjudged offside. Powell had a long range penalty attempt fall agonisingly short but was accurate after 25 minutes after the Quins were penalised at a ruck.
Both sides lost a man to the sin bin after 31 minutes as Bedwas flanker George Lee and Quins number 8 Morgan Allen (a former Bedwas player) were despatched to the cooler following a minor altercation.
One minute later and a lovely sidestep by Mike Callow to round his opposite man put Patric Lewis in space and the youngster ran through from deep to cross for a try. Powell was on the mark with his conversion kick to put Bedwas 13 points to 8 ahead.
With no more points added until the 62 minutes elapsed the game saw possession and territory shared with neither side able to break down the respective defences.
The introduction of Tom Bell to replace the hard working Geraint Edmunds gave Bedwas some impetus as the young second rower took the game to the Quins. Shortly afterwards good handling by the Bedwas team put Mike Callow through for a try under the posts, Powell added the conversion to put his side 12 points ahead.
Quins refused to lie down and Bedwas dug deep to repel any attempt to score. Pat Lewis came desperately close to a second try only to see it ruled out for a foot in touch before Marshall and Powell exchanged penalty goals.
Both sides made changes to replace tiring bodies and with 6 minutes remaining Carmarthen replacement Andrew Green crossed for a try close to the left hand touchline. Substitute Craig Evans expertly converted to set up a tense end to the game with just five points between the sides.
To their credit Carmarthen continued to battle hard but Bedwas kept their concentration and after what seemed an eternity of added time Bedwas were finally able to boot the ball off the pitch from a penalty to start the victory celebrations.
The Bedwas RFC family enjoyed a party at the club long into the night on Saturday but next Saturday (8th April) return to Premiership League action when Llandovery visit the Bridgefield. A win for Bedwas is essential to keep alive the dreams of a top four finish.