Rugby Union: Bedwas RFC 23 Bedford Blues RFC 48
British and Irish Cup, Pool 2, Round 1, Saturday October 13, 2012.
Match report by John Meredith, photography by Ian Lovell.
Bedwas made their British and Irish Cup début in a home time against Bedford Blues, a team unbeaten so far this season.
Bedwas gave debuts to second row Chris Bundy, flanker Tom Organ and hooker Elliott Dee. Iain Smerdon and Ryan Owen made welcome returns from injury in the backs division.
Bedwas took first blood inside 90 seconds via a Richard Powell penalty after Bedford were penalised at a ruck. Bedford looked to hit back and a good brake by fly half Jake Sharp nearly bought a try but he just short of the try line.
The home side countered and should have scored a try but Powell’s pass to Owen found the floor not the man and the chance was gone.
It wasn’t long before the visitors got on the board. A penalty on half way found touch and from the resulting line out the ball travelled through several pairs of hands to centre Ollie Dodge to cross the whitewash. Fly half Sharp added the extras.
Bedford continued to play constructive rugby their rolling maul being a prominent feature; from this they scored their second try as prop forward Cochrane was last up off the turf. Sharpe’s conversion missed the target.
Three minutes later Bedwas pulled a try back, Stuart Thomas made a great break and put Rory Budina in a for a try out wide. Powell’s conversion was unsuccessful.
The restart could have yielded further points but Powell’s kick missed the target but Bedwas were dominating territory without making a dent in the score line.
Bedford hit back with a try down the Bedwas right by Mark Kohler, Sharp finding the target on this occasion with his conversion.
Powell added another Bedwas penalty before Kohler’s second try just before the interval put daylight between the teams as the referee blew for half time with Bedford deservedly ahead 24-11.
Bedwas were unfortunate not to score an early try after a great burst of pace by Stuart Thomas. Bedwas were trying to play rugby but unforced errors saw them go to waste.
The home cause got even steeper when Chris Bundy was yellow carded for hands in the ruck. From a scrum quick hands saw the ball out wide to winger James Stephenson who crossed for an unconverted try. The same player repeated the feat barely four minutes later and suddenly Bedwas were on the ropes at 34-11 down.
Bedford’s seventh try of the afternoon through hooker Cochrane converted by Sharp virtually ended Bedwas hopes of a comeback. However the home side fought back and managed to add a try under the sticks by Rory Budina following a good break by Ross Wardle. Replacement fly half Ethan Davies added the extras.
Stuart Thomas added a third Bedwas try after 68 minutes but Bedford redoubled their efforts even though they were down to 14 men shortly after this score when prop Darren Fearn was sin binned.
Bedford replacement Dan Seal rounded off the scoring after 76 minutes, Sharp added the extras to complete a deserved win for the Bedford Blues.
Despite the defeat Bedwas Head Coach Steve Law was upbeat.
He said: “We played a very good side today and I am happy with the way our youngsters stepped up to the challenge” he said. They came through it with flying colours and the B and I Cup is giving them an opportunity to play different opponents and allows them to see what they need to aspire to for the future.
“We played some good rugby when we had possession, my only disappointment today was the number of missed tackles we made in the first half, we’ll look to put that right at training next week.”
Next Saturday (October 20) Bedwas travel to Neath for their second B and I Cup pool match at the Gnoll, kick-off time TBC.