Bargoed 26-35 Cardiff
Saturday May 6, Bargoed Park
Bargoed’s historic first year in the Principality Premiership ended with an entertaining, if frustrating, defeat at home to Cardiff.
The Bulls went behind to an early James Beal try, before hitting back with a stunning interception score of their own as young outside-half Matthew Lewis stole the ball ten metres from his own line and outsprinted the chasing Cardiff cover.
The Bargoed pack were having a fine first-half and added to the scoreline when captain Leigh Meades was driven over from a lineout just before the interval. James Hallet added the extras, but their lead was short-lived, as flanker Louis Blacker was sin-binned for bringing down a driving maul, and back-rower Luke Crocker forced his way over to give the Blue and Blacks a 12-14 lead at the break.
The Bulls, down to 14, shipped two second-half tries in quick succession, as Cardiff centres Will Hole-Rees and Lloyd Chalk punched their way through the Bargoed defence. Gareth Thompson converted both.
The Bulls rang the changes and No.8 Ross Coombes got a standing ovation, leaving the field after playing his last game for the club, before Cardiff’s Ben Thomas crossed for their fifth of the afternoon.
Bargoed hit back with two late tries from replacement No.8 Luke Dyckhoff to claim a bonus point with the final score 26-35.
Bargoed chairman, Neil Carter, said: “The coaches wanted to keep faith with the players who got us from the Championship and with a few additions that’s what we’ve done so we think that our record this year has been impressive given the quality of the opposition.
“Arguably we should have won half a dozen more and we were in positions to do that but our inexperience at this level showed that managing the final minutes of a game is what good teams do. But we’ve learned from that and intend to put that right for next season.”
• Match report by Peter Greening of Bargoed RFC.
Elsewhere, Cross Keys secured their place in the Principality Premiership’s Tier Two play-offs with a 22-29 victory over Newport on Wednesday May 3.
They will face Neath at The Gnoll on Sunday May 14 after the Welsh All Blacks held off Bridgend.
Kick-off is at 2.30pm.