Rugby Union: Bedwas thankful for missed kicks as late flourish earns losing bonus point against Neath
Neath dominated the game for long periods and Bedwas only stayed in the game due to Dai Langdon’s missed penalty attempts, but Neath held on to a 15-14 lead.
Langdon was on target with his first penalty attempt with only two minutes on the clock. Neath continued to pressure Bedwas into mistakes and increased their lead after ten minutes through flanker Steffan Jones. Langdon added the extras.
Bedwas found it difficult to get out of their own half and when they did they turned over possession or conceded penalties.
Langdon missed three penalty chances that would have given his side an unassailable lead.
Shortly before half-time Neath right-wing Jamie Davies suffered an injury competing for a high ball. The second-half was delayed by 20 minutes while the ambulance arrived and Davies was stretchered off.
The delay didn’t appear to effect his team mates too much and Neath were soon back on the attack, although the hapless Langdon was still unable to find the target as he missed another shot at goal after 49 minutes.
Bedwas’ own kicker Richard Powell entered the fray on 52 minutes, replacing Jack Maynard.
Powell’s first task was a kick at goal from the half way line, which although on target was just short.
Arron Coundley’s yellow card after 55 minutes gave Bedwas hope but they were unable to take advantage of the extra man.
Wilkes’ yellow card shortly before Coundley returned to the field gave Neath the extra man and after Bedwas failed to clear a relieving kick, centre Ashley Evans ran through for a try, but Langdon missed the conversion.
Bedwas picked themselves up and took the game to Neath. Pinches made a couple of good breaks and then Phill Rees went agonisingly close to scoring but knocked the ball on a metre short of the line.
Bedwas were not to be denied though and on the next attack the home defence conceded a penalty try, and Langdon was sent to the sin bin. Powell converted and Bedwas were back in the game.
Five minutes later Josh Walker found the space to gallop through for a try unopposed, touching down under the sticks to give Powell a simple shot at the extras.
Bedwas supporters probably began to think that despite having played so poorly their side could claim the spoils.
With four minutes left they had a chance but Powell missed with his long range penalty shot and Neath breathed a huge sigh of relief and saw out the remainder of the game.
The losing bonus point leaves Bedwas seventh in the table, with fellow Caerphilly County Borough club Cross Keys sixth after their match was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch in Bridgend.
On Saturday January 10 there is a break from the league when Bedwas host Pontypool in the SWALEC Cup, with Cross Keys travelling to Llanelli.
The Premiership returns on January 17 when Cross Keys host Aberavon and Bedwas travel to Llanelli.
• Match report and picture by Ian Lovell