Swansea RFC 15 Bedwas RFC 20
Principality Welsh Premiership, Friday 16th March 2018.
Match report and photography by Ian Lovell.
Bedwas survived a late Swansea onslaught to hold onto for an important win but they so nearly lost this after a stop-start performance in contrast to their recent form.
Bedwas might have scored from their opening attack only for the ball to be mishandled to allow the home defence to clear but they made no such mistake on four minutes. Adam Williams raced through from deep and dived in at the left hand corner; Steffan Jones’ conversion kick drifted wide.
Bedwas increased their lead on 15 minutes after the home sides under pressure scrum was penalised giving Steffan Jones a relatively straightforward kick at goal he gratefully accepted.
Swansea came back strongly and dominated possession but were unable to break through the Bedwas defence. They eventually gained their reward after the Bedwas defence was adjudged offside and outside half Gareth Walters successfully notched the ensuing penalty goal.
It was all Swansea at this stage and they looked odds on to increase their lead but winger Dan Howells dropped the ball with the try line in sight. However this sustained attacking saw Bedwas infringe once too many and James Richards trudged off for a ten minute break as the referee produced his yellow card for pulling down a maul.
The home side used their numerical advantage to good effect and from a Bedwas fed scrum drove the Bedwas pack backwards for number 8 Jon Fox to collect a loose ball and crash over for a try. Walters’ conversion attempt went wide to leave the sides locked on 8 points each at the interval.
Bedwas reopened their account 6 minutes into the second half. Andrew Waite and replacement Bryn Toms carried the ball deep into the home half. With all the forwards committed to defend this break the ball was quickly moved to the opposite side of the field where Pat Lewis found space to cross. Again the conversion kick from wide out went wide.
Howells made up for his earlier error as he gathered a wide pass to cross in the corner and with Walters successfully adding the conversion the home side were ahead for the first time in the contest.
Bedwas knew they were in a game but heads didn’t drop. Lewis Evans’ pass found left winger Matthew John, who sidestepped his marker before powering down the wing from 50 metres out handing off would be tacklers to make the line with a great piece of individual skill. Steffan Jones finally found his range to add the icing on the cake but the game was still finely balanced.
Bedwas might have improved their position but handling errors prevented any additions to the score. Swansea sensed they could get something from the game and the last five minutes saw Bedwas having to dig deep to keep out the home side as they pressed hard for a match winning score. To their credit the Bedwas team kept all attacks at bay to hold on for the win.
Bedwas have potentially two season defining games to come over the next seven days.
Firstly Newport visit the Bridgefield on Tuesday 20th March for the rearranged WRU National Cup quarter final tie (kick-off 7-15pm) and then on Saturday 24th March current table toppers Carmarthen Quins are the visitors (kick-off 2-30pm).