Pontypridd RFC 27 Bedwas RFC 39
Principality Welsh Premiership, Saturday 26th August 2017.
Match report and photography by Ian Lovell.
Ian Gardner’s tenure as Head Coach of Bedwas RFC got off to the best possible start as his side ran in five tries to claim a first ever victory for the club at Sardis Road.
On a warm, sunny afternoon the first game to be played on Pontypridd’s new artificial pitch started at a furious pace as both sides looked for the opening salvo.
It was the visitors who claimed the opening score, a quickly taken tap penalty saw the ball moved quickly left to Mathew John who tore through the backline to dot down, Steffan Jones adding the extras.
Ponty levelled the score from quick line out ball as back rower Shane Lewis-Hughes found the space to crash over near the posts, Diggy Bird added the conversion to tie the scores.
The game was being played at a rapid pace but with both sides not wanting to concede any ground it became a real arm wrestle.
Bedwas retook the lead on 33 minutes. A series of Bedwas scrums close to the try line bought its reward as Morgan Allen squeezed through a pile of bodies to reach out and touch down. Steffan Jones added the conversion.
The half came to an end with both sides’ kickers exchanging penalty kicks to see a score of Pontypridd 13 Bedwas 17.
The second half began as the first had ended with both sides vying for possession. Bedwas took advantage of home indiscipline and from a line out set up a driving maul with Ellis Shipp on the bottom of a pile of bodies to claim a try. Steffan Jones’ boot further embellished the score.
Ponty hit back almost immediately as fast hands put replacement winger Lewis Williams in a gap and he raced through for a try converted by Bird to reduce the arrears.
Bedwas were in no mood to surrender as Steffan Jones added ten points, first expertly kicking a long range penalty to put his side seven points clear and then exploiting a gap in the home defence following good work by the forwards to claim the bonus point fourth try. His conversion put his side fourteen points ahead.
Ponty hit back with a raid down their left which culminated in a try in the corner for Dale Stuckey; replacement outside half Ceri Sweeney added the extras and with seven minutes remaining were within range of levelling the scores.
It looked as though the home side would go for the jugular but Bedwas defended heroically to repel any thoughts the home side had of a comeback. With the home side committing so many men to attack it left space for Bedwas flanker Andrew Waite to sprint in from the half way line with 60 seconds left to play to ensure a dream start for Bedwas was not to be denied. Steffan Jones’ kick hit an upright but it mattered not as the Bedwas squad, back room staff, directors and supporters delighted in the performance.Next Saturday (2nd September) Bedwas host near neighbours Newport RFC, kick off 2-30pm. This game will be a ‘Ladies Day’ as all female supporters can enter for free. See the club website for further details