Bedwas hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for the Black and Ambers in recent times, and sadly, Saturday was no different. The Bridgemen were coming off an impressive bonus point victory at Pontypridd last week and started the match in impressive style. Matthew John’s burst through the B&As’ defence, followed by a driving maul from a lineout, put the hosts 5-0 ahead within the first two minutes.
Newport responded quickly with a solid scrum resulting in a penalty, however Matt O’Brien failed to put the B&As on the scoreboard. Former Dragons and Bedford outside-half, Steffan Jones made Newport pay with a penalty to put his new side up 8-0, before both No. 10s squandered an opportunity each to add 3 points but O’Brien made up for his errors gaining great territory with a 50 metre kick, and a driving maul from a subsequent lineout gave the ‘Port their first points of the day, when Will Evans managed to wrap himself over the ball. Matt O’Brien made it ‘third time lucky’ adding a conversion.
The B&As failed to capitalise on that momentum and were quick to hand Robson Blake an opportunity to squeeze through the defence and head for the try line, despite Owen Davies’ last-gap efforts to prevent him. Things got worse as James Little, the summer addition to the squad after impressing the coaches at the end of last season, limped off with an injury and likely to be out for some time.
Newport had a great chance to finish the half on a high, as Harri Lang was given the freedom of Bedwas to run through the left wing, putting in Lennon Greggains, via Jon Morris. The young No.8, back in the side after conquering South Africa with Wales U18 last month, had an open area at which to run, but a fall on catching the ball meant the half ended Bedwas 15-7 Newport.
An improved performance was needed in the second 40 to deal with a very decent Rhymney Valley outfit, and the B&A’s managed to hold out for a good spell. However, a clever chip by Steffan Jones over the Newport backline was met by Matthew John went over for Bedwas’ third. Jones’ boot made it 22-7.
The backs were showing a glimmer of hope. Harri Lang found more space in the home defence to race into the 22, proving he could be a key asset for the B&A’s this season but another penalty given in the ruck wasted another decent gain of territory. The penalty count was racking up and they were soon made to pay. Ian Gardner’s team secured the bonus point as another Steffan Jones kick through the Newport backline was met by centre, Adam Williams who slided under the sticks. Jones’ deserved man of the match performance prompted Tom Pascoe to try and replicate his silky skills. The centre attempted a grubber kick of his own through the black and white defence, but proved unsuccessful, summing up the whole afternoon.
Newport enjoyed plenty of possession in the final 10 minutes and spent a good spell in Bedwas’ 22. Haydn Simons had a couple of cracks at a solid defence, Wes Cunliffe had a decent pop, Kyle Tayler and Lang came close in injury time, however neither prevailed. Final score: Bedwas 29-7 Newport.
September was always going to be a tough for the B&A’s, but they will have learnt a lot from these first two defeats and plenty will be done this week to put this into practice. Pontypridd come to town on Friday night (7.30pm), before tough trips to Ebbw Vale and Merthyr follow.
Onwards and upwards! #COTP #YmlaenCasnewydd
Seren y Gêm: Wes Cunnliffe