Bargoed RFC earned a 13-7 win over local rivals Bedwas as the sides returned to competitive action after more than 18 months out due to the coronavirus pandemic.
With a number of players unavailable for the game, Bedwas headed to Bargoed Park with just 18 players in their matchday squad.
The game was part of the WRU Championship Cup, which will see Bargoed, Bedwas and Crosskeys play each other home and away between now and the end of September.
Bedwas centre Lewis Bowden limped off in the warm-up after twisting his ankle, leaving just two subs on the visiting side’s bench – with debutant Jack Guy stepping in for Bowden.
Shortly after kick-off, Bargoed were awarded a penalty try after Bedwas were judged to have illegally stopped the hosts’ driving maul.
Bedwas were left a man short after flanker Owen Jones was shown a yellow card as a result.
A strong Bargoed pack made life difficult for Bedwas, but the a spirited visiting side maintained a reasonable amount of possession, but were unable to convert it into points.
Bargoed then increased their lead on the 30-minute mark thanks to a Steffan Jones penalty.
But Bedwas fought back and were rewarded after Bargoed’s Lewis Johnson was sin binned, reducing the hosts to 14 men.
Bedwas made the most of their extra player as scrum-half Rory Harries wriggled under a few bodies to recorded a try.
The try was converted by Dion McIntosh to cut Bargoed’s lead to just three points at half-time.
Second-row Harry Oliver came on to replace Matthew Bovington after the break to make his Bedwas debut, with the second half beginning at a fast pace.
Bargoed looked to have increased their lead with a try, but it was ruled out for knock-on in the build-up.
But Bargoed extended their lead in the 65th minute through the boot of Jones.
Bedwas battled on and came close to the try-line on a number of occasions but a strong Bargoed defence kept them at bay.
With the clock ticking, Bedwas needed a converted try to take the lead. An attack deep into Bargoed’s territory led to Bedwas appeals for a penalty try, but referee Dan Jones was having none of it.
Bargoed held out for the win, while Bedwas came away with a losing bonus point for their efforts.
Bargoed will face Cross Keys in their next WRU Championship Cup game, which will take place at Pandy Park on Saturday, August 14.
Bedwas are next in action on Saturday, August 28, where they too will take on Cross Keys.
Match report and imagery provided by Ian Lovell of Bedwas RFC.
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