Bedwas RFC 36 Neath RFC 30.
WRU Admiral Championship, Saturday 18 December 2021.
Match report and photography by Ian Lovell.
Christmas came early for the Bedwas faithful as great effort from the entire team sent Neath back west after suffering their first defeat of the season. Both sides should, however, be applauded for serving up an excellent afternoon’s entertainment.
Neath started the game at a fast pace and came close to the first try of the game very early but Aaron Grabham’s kick through went into touch and the opportunity vanished.
Neath nevertheless continued to impress with their speed at the breakdown and quick hands and took the lead after nine minutes courtesy of a try by scrum-half Elis Horgan. Outside half Steff Williams added the extras.
A Dion McIntosh penalty three minutes later bought Bedwas back into the game, but Neath’s response was almost immediate and Bedwas were penalised at a ruck and Steff Williams added the penalty.
The next score wasn’t long coming, the ball worked wide for Captain Craig Hudd run in from the halfway line through several would-be tacklers and in for a try to the right of the posts. Dion McIntosh’s conversion levelled up the scores.
Dion McIntosh missed a penalty chance after twenty-five minutes but two tries in three minutes around the thirty minutes mark extended the home advantage. First Matty Bancroft’s darting run earned him a try before Dafydd Thomas did well to power past would be defenders for a try in the left-hand corner. Dion McIntosh converted both tries to put Bedwas 24 points to 10 ahead.
Neath refused to buckle and pulled back ten points in the closing stages of the half courtesy of a try by backrower Alun Jones and a conversion and penalty from Steffan Williams.
Cory Bushell-Thomas newly signed from Rhydyfelin replaced the injured Craig Hudd at the start of the second half. Five minutes into the half Bedwas extended their lead via a McIntosh penalty after a Neath player was penalised for a high tackle.
Two further penalties from McIntosh saw Bedwas extend their lead to 33 points to 20 with an hour played.
Neath had opportunities but dropped a lot of ball in midfield and thus surrendered possession but they hit back after 64 minutes courtesy of a try by prop forward Tim Ryan, Williams’ conversion attempt sailing wide.
A fifth Dion McIntosh penalty goal of the afternoon after 68 minutes settled the nerves of the Bedwas supporters as the Bedwas lead increased to an eleven points advantage.
Neath continued to battle hard and with four minutes left to play replacement winger James Roberts found the space to cross for a try. Williams again failing to add the conversion. Neath continued to attack and spent considerable time close the try line, but Bedwas held on despite Neath claims of a further try which was not awarded by the unsighted referee.
The Bedwas Man of the Match sponsored by Casa Mia Restaurant of Caerphilly was awarded to Lewis Bowden (below).
Bedwas and all the other teams in the Championship now face a two week break for the Christmas/New Year holiday period. Our next fixture is now at Tata Steel RFC on Saturday 8th January 2022.
Todays match photos are at : https://www.flickr.com/photos/bedwasrfc/albums