Bedwas RFC staged a second half comeback in the Principality Premiership to secure a draw against Newport at the Bridge Field on Saturday, January 19.
The result ends a run of five consecutive league defeats for relegation-battling Bedwas.
Newport dominated the first half but a resurgent home side came back to share the spoils.
Newport took the lead through a Haydn Simons penalty kick in the fourth minute after a fast-paced start.
Bedwas couldn’t get themselves into the game. They struggled in the scrum and made numerous handling errors.
Simons kicked a second penalty before Bedwas were dealt a blow as Jonathan Armitage went off with a head injury and was replaced by Dale Rogers.
They found themselves even further behind when Newport’s former-Bedwas player Andy Evans crossed for a try under the posts. Simons added the conversion.
The visitors were then reduced to 14 men when flanker Andrew Mann was sinbinned for a high tackle.
With an extra man, Bedwas tried to battle their way back into contention but outside-half Evan Lloyd missed three penalty kicks.
No8 Matthew Reed scored an unconverted try to give the visitors an 18-0 lead at the break.
The second half started disastrously for Bedwas, who saw Chris Budgen sinbinned after the referee grew frustrated with the number of scrum penalties the team were conceding.
The home crowd were finally given something to cheer as new signing Jonathan Davies scored in the corner to get his team’s first points on the board. Joe Scrivens’ conversion drifted wide but momentum was now with Bedwas.
Newport struggled to cope with their resurgent opponents and let ill-discipline get the better of them when replacement hooker Henry Palmer was sinbinned.
This time, Bedwas made the most of the advantage and Davies scored his second try of the game to cut Newport’s lead to 18-10.
Newport were reduced yet again when captain Ryan James was shown a yellow card.
Scrivens kicked a penalty to reduce the lead to just five points with two minutes left to set up an exhilarating finale.
A try in the left corner from Adam Williams in the dying moments gave Bedwas the chance of a long-awaited victory.
However, Joe Scrivens missed the chance to clinch victory for his side as his long-range conversion attempt failed to hit the target.
After the match, Bedwas 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.”
Bedwas are in cup action on Saturday, January 26 as they travel to Cyncoed to face a Cardiff Met RFC side managed by their former head coach, Ian Gardner.
Report and imagery courtesy of Ian Lovell.