Bedwas 30-27 Pontypridd
Saturday April 29, The Bridgefield
Both Bedwas and Pontypridd went into their penultimate Principality Premiership Tier One match knowing that a win would ensure a top-four finish. A stunning comeback by the hosts saw Bedwas claim the spoils in a dramatic finale and condemn Pontypridd to a shootout with RGC 1404 for the final play-off position next weekend.
Bedwas had the first chance for points after seven minutes as Pontypridd were adjudged to be offside. Richard Powell’s penalty hit the left-hand post and bounced out before being cleared to touch.
The visitors hit back shortly afterwards after an incisive break by Gary Williams set up a ruck which saw the ball find its way to centre Garyn Smith to ghost through the Bedwas defence to touch down. Fly-half Ceri Sweeney added the extras to put his side 7-0 ahead.
Bedwas thought they’d crossed after on the quarter-hour mark when Nicky Griffiths broke through, but he was adjudged to have been held in the tackle before crossing and his effort was ruled out. The ensuing clearance penalty saw the ball kicked out on the full, and Bedwas were awarded a five-metre scrum.
Griffiths collected the ball from the base of the scrum, and Powell’s overhead flicked pass put Mathew John over in the corner. Powell confidently converted to level the scores.
Sweeney and Powell exchanged penalties before Gary Williams powered through to give Ponty a seven-point lead at the break.
Former international Sweeney furthered his side’s advantage after the interval with a clever solo try, and Bedwas had a mountain to climb.
Ponty continued to exert their dominance, and tried to put the game to bed, but home winger Pat Lewis had other ideas as he intercepted a loose pass and raced 70 metres to touch down under the posts. Powell added the conversion, and the scores read 17-24.
Bedwas levelled things with 15 minutes to go when John’s break was supported by George Lee, who threw a high pass for Lewis to cross in the corner. The home side faced an anxious wait as the referee and TMO consulted whether the pass was forward, but once it was given, Powell produced an excellent kick from an acute angle to even proceedings.
The home side took the lead for the first time shortly after through another Powell penalty, before Sweeney returned the favour with four minutes left after Bryn Toms was adjudged to have collapsed a scrum.
Drama followed, as from the restart, Pontypridd were penalised for not releasing in the tackle. The ensuing back-chat saw the referee move the kick ten-metres in, allowing Powell a shot at goal. He held his nerve to convert, and Bedwas were in touching distance of snatching the victory.
The TMO was called again from the resulting restart, and Ponty’s Gary Williams was adjudged to have taken a Bedwas defender out in the air, and the hosts cleared the kick into touch, and retained possession until the clock went red.
• Match report and photography by Ian Lovell of Bedwas RFC.