Pontypool RFC 15 Bedwas RFC 12
Specsavers WRU Championship, Friday 31st January 2020.
Match report and photography by Ian Lovell.
A superb effort from the entire Bedwas team earned a losing bonus point at a wet and blustery ‘Friday night lights’ Pontypool Park.
Late changes were made to the Bedwas team named on Thursday evening with James Richards delayed in work Mike Dacey started at hooker and Dale Rogers at blind side flanker with Richards on the bench. Morgan Allen came in on permit at Number 8 from Cardiff after Jonathan Armitage was injured in training.
The first half was mixed bag of some chances, some errors but nevertheless both sides fought hard to break the deadlock without threatening to trouble the scoreboard operators.
Towards the end of the half it looked possible that Bedwas could end the half minus a player following an aerial challenge but the referee to the ire of the home supporters kept his cards in his pocket and awarded a penalty to the home side. Shortly afterwards they got their wish as Jordan Rees was sin-binned for a high tackle and with 35 minutes played Richard Powell slotted over the resulting penalty to break the deadlock. A second penalty for another high tackle just before the interval drifted wide leaving the score 3 points to 0 to the hosts.
Early in the second half a Bedwas penalty in the Pontypool half was kicked ‘dead’ by Dion McIntosh; an opportunity lost to get back into the game.
Both sides’ defences remained on top until the 54th minute when Aaron Coundley exploited a gap in the Bedwas defence the ball going through several pairs of hands to Number 8 Ieuan Jones who crossed by the corner flag. Powell’s conversion attempt went wide.
Bedwas continued to stifle any attacks from the home side and on 65 minutes good work by the forwards was rewarded with a try for Jordan Rees, James Hallett successfully added the conversion to reduce the deficit by a single point.
Scoring opportunities continued to be at a premium but Pontypool extended their lead after an up and under kick from full back Geraint Walsh was not gathered in by the Bedwas defence and replacement Amosa Nove was first to react to run through for a try, Richard Powell converted to put his side 8 points ahead.
The game was held up for a lengthy period following an injury to home hooker Lewis Ball but thankfully the stretcher was needed and Ball was able to walk off the field.
Upon resumption of play Bedwas set up an attack and after the ball was passed along the line Jordan Rees was able to kick through and gather his own kick to cross for a try. Hallett’s conversion attempt drifted wide.
Bedwas attempted to break the home defence for a third time but their efforts were in vain as the home defence was in no mood to surrender what they had earned as they held out until the final whistle.
Bedwas’ efforts earned a losing bonus point and although Pontypool will remain odds-on favourites for promotion the race for second spot will continue in earnest.
Bedwas are next in action on Saturday 15th February when making the longest trip of the season to the Lewis Lloyd Ground, home of Narberth RFC.
Images from this game can be found at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bedwasrfc/albums