Bedwas storm back in dramatic finale to claim a draw

Bedwas RFC 18 Newport RFC 18

Principality Welsh Premiership, Saturday 19th January 2019.

Match report and photography by Ian Lovell.

If there was ever ‘a game of two halves’ this was it. Newport totally dominated the first half; such dominance should have put the game to bed by half time. The second half belonged to a resurgent Bedwas team who played some great rugby and came agonisingly close to snatch the spoils at the death.

On an overcast, cool January afternoon Newport started at great pace and took the lead via a Haydn Simons penalty goal after 4 minutes.

Bedwas couldn’t establish any platform to respond and made many handling errors as they tried to get into Newport territory. With the scrummage also struggling against Newport’s powerful eight it looked as though the home faithful were in for a long afternoon.

Haydn Simons kicked a second penalty before a clash of heads saw Jonathan Armitage injured and replaced by Dale Rogers.

Newport further increased their advantage as a big gap appeared in the Bedwas backline and former Bedwas player Andy Evans was on hand to finish the move to cross under the posts. Haydn Simons added the conversion. Newport then found themselves a man short as flanker Andrew Mann was sinbinned for a high tackle.

At the other end Bedwas attempts to claw back some points were frustrated by three penalty goal attempts missed by young fly half Evan Lloyd.

Newport’s stranglehold in the scrummage earned them a second try just before the interval as the Bedwas forwards were over powered yet again and from a close range scrum Number 8 Matthew Reed was driven over for a try which went unconverted.

It went from bad to worse at the start of the second half as the referee finally lost patience with the number of scrum penalties Bedwas were conceding resulting in a sin-binning for Chris Budgen,

Bedwas replaced Gareth Allen and Evan Lloyd with James Richards and Jacob Chilcott respectively and then Sam Cochrane for Brynley Toms and almost immediately got their reward as recent signing Jonathan Owen Davies crashed over in the corner, Scrivens’ conversion drifting wide.

As Bedwas upped the ante Newport’s discipline imploded and replacement hooker Henry Palmer was sin binned. Bedwas tails were up and five minutes later Davies claimed his second try again unconverted.

It was all Bedwas at this stage and with Newport losing a second player to the sin-bin as captain Ryan James was given an enforced rest Bedwas sensed they might just get something from the game.

Joe Scrivens reduced the arrears from a penalty goal with two minutes remaining to set up a spine tingling finale. Bedwas’ numerical advantage finally paid off as Adam Williams crossed in the left hand corner to tie the scores. Scrivens unfortunately couldn’t convert but Bedwas had earned two vital league points which looked miles away at the interval.

After the match Head Coach Stefan Sankala said: “We were bitterly disappointed with the first half, I don’t think we were anywhere near as competitive as what we should have been. Newport completely dominated territory and possession and played virtually all the rugby. We spoke honestly at half-time about what we needed to go to get back into the game, and I think we brought that to the party”.

“We’re usually quite reliable with the boot, but from my perspective talking about the kicking is a bit far-fetched as we conceded ten penalties from the scrum, that was my biggest worry. If we can be really competitive from the off-set then I’m confident that we can get out of the bottom four. We’re motivated to start climbing the table.”

Next Saturday it’s back to cup football as Bedwas make the short journey to Cyncoed to take on Cardiff Met RFC in what promises to be a spicy game against a team well coached by former Bedwas Head Coach Ian Gardner.

The Bedwas man of the match sponsored by Casa Mia Restaurant of Caerphilly was awarded to Jonathan Davies.

Images from this game can be found at: