Bedwas RFC v Newport RFC 4th August 2023 by John Evans
Newport have quietly gone about their business in the close season, recruiting players, moving players on, while the likes of Geraint O’Driscoll have hung up their boots for good following a long and distinguished career in Black and Amber. It’s an interesting time of year, watching the new recruits try to make their mark on the jersey. One wonders what rugby fate has in store for those young men that Head Coach Ty Morris has deemed as being worth a look.
The fixture was moved, some weeks previously, from Saturday afternoon to Friday night which, with the onset of Storm Antoni, and the forecast weather warnings, probably worked out to be a good idea.
Newport looked a little in the style of the Barbarians as they lined up to face the kick-off, the new recruits wearing a variety of odd socks as the new kit has still to arrive from the supplier. Bedwas lined up in their usual black and white hooped jerseys.
The game was played, in its entirety, with uncontested scrums, while the adjustment in tackle height, with no tackling above chest height, was going to be interesting too.
From an early scrum, Dafydd Buckland passed right to Walker Price, who sprinted and kicked ahead, aggressively regathering the ball. Buckland continued his support run, popping the ball on to Lewis David, who pivoted through a challenge before pouncing for the game’s opening try. Matt O’Brien added the conversion to make it Bedwas 0 Newport 7 on 3 minutes. Walker Price took a knock during the phase of play and was retired early, his place being taken by young prospect Dray Jack-Griffin.
Bedwas put the Newport defence through its paces as they probed and darted at the Black and Amber wall, but a solid effort was rewarded when Newport isolated the ball-carrier and won the turnover. Jon Verrier showed some ability with his hands as he moved the ball on neatly, before Elliot Frewen scorched through the Bedwas backline, bursting from full-back, before Dafydd Buckland continued the move and linked well with Iestyn Galton to complete the move and score. Matt O’Brien again added the two points to make it Bedwas 0 Newport 14 with 12 minutes played.
Prop Aaron Dowse found himself in open space with ball in hand on 23 minutes, before passing to the seemingly omnipresent Buckland. He had Garyn Payne close at hand, the new centre skipping through a challenge to bag a try. Matt O’Brien did the honours, making the score Bedwas 0 Newport 21.
Bedwas nearly got a score on 31 minutes when some pressure on the Newport line was resisted. A penalty to the hosts was met in belligerent fashion, notably by Lewis David, who really put the Newport cat amongst the Bedwas pigeons, before the Black and Whites were pushed away.
Iestyn Galton claimed his second try on 36 minutes as a pass by Chay Foster-Smith cannoned off a Bedwas chest. From the scrum, it was simplicity itself as Dafydd Buckland broke right, fed the ball to Galton who overpowered his opposite number to score out wide. Matt O’Brien kicked the touchline conversion to make it Bedwas 0 Newport 28.
Bedwas had a golden opportunity to score as the half closed, with some intelligent play and aggressive attacking combined to see their young left wing sprint through to chase a kick. Unfortunately for Bedwas, he simply knocked-on, rather than ground the ball, and Newport were off the hook. Lloyd Lewis sought to sprint out of defence, gaining good ground, before both second rows, Jon Verrier and Chris Pursell handled the ball in open play until the move broke down and half time was called.
Half Time Bedwas RFC 00 Newport RFC 28
With a changeover in personnel at half time, it might be expected that we would witness a disjointed restart; not a bit of it, and Newport extended their lead within moments of the restart. New props Garin Harris and Tom Workman worked in concert to keep the move going before Dray Jack-Griffin tore along the wing before good hands by Lewis David put Josh Reid in for a try, making the score Bedwas 0 Newport 33.
The Black and Ambers almost went coast-to-coast as a Bedwas attacking lineout was overthrown. Hooker Aneurin Jenkins secured possession and passed out to replacement centre Ieuan Evans. Evans blasted along the surface of the Bridge Field but the move broke down before a spectacular try could be scored. Bedwas were struggling to keep up at this juncture and Newport soon regrouped and Iestyn Galton and Dray Jack-Griffin combined well to penetrate Bedwas territory passing to Dafydd Buckland for a deserved try. Matt O’Brien did the business making the score Bedwas 0 Newport 40 on 46 minutes.
Lloyd Lewis broke out of defence again, jinking around the majority of the Bedwas backs before looking for more players to run around, until Josh Reid made himself available in support to dummy and cross for a 47th minute try, making it 0-45 to the visitors.
To be fair, Bedwas could have thrown the towel in at this point, and it’s to their credit that they fought back and worked hard for some tries. The stubborn Newport defence was pushed and pushed, but a nice flick pass from their number 11 provided room for openside flanker Morgan to cross out wide, making the score Bedwas 5 Newport 45 on 50 minutes.
With Matt O’Brien withdrawn, it was time to see what Owain Davis could offer the game from 10. Lewis David and Ben Roach straightened the running lines up before Davis planted a kick ahead for Ieuan Evans to chase, secure and score the try. Owain Davis added the conversion to make it Bedwas 5 Newport 52 on 63 minutes.
Bedwas capitalised on a midfield mix-up by Newport to score their second try. All the big lad had to do was cleanly take the ball and sprint to the line. Outside half Dixon, who had a tidy game, added the conversion to make it Bedwas 12 Newport 52 on 67 minutes.
Chay Foster – Smith was next on the scoreboard as Dray Jack-Griffin set the ruck up well, allowing Scott Gibson, on permit from Birchgrove and helping the club out of a small hole, released the ball left, working through the hands out to Foster – Smith out wide who used his undoubted strength to bash through the cover to score. Owain Davis added the conversion, making the score Bedwas 12 Newport 59 on 70 minutes.
Scott Gibson bagged a try for himself on 72 minutes, replacement centre Jordan Howells performing a textbook ‘draw the man then pass’, allowing Ieuan Evans to take the ball up on the right, before Gibson took the last pass and scuttled under the posts to score. Owain Davis performed a drop-goal conversion to make it Bedwas 12 Newport 66.
It was left to Garyn Payne to finish the scoring as Ieuan Evans burst his way upfield, leaving defenders in his wake, before popping a pass to Payne to jog in and seal the deal. Full time, Bedwas 12 Newport 71.
To be fair, the tackle law wasn’t really that noticeable on this occasion, there were a few lapses, shall we say, but, equally, the referees need to adjust to the new law too, and they will need practice, and time on the field, to look for differing tackle heights. For this game, to his credit, the refereeing was sympathetic.
The club records its thanks to Bedwas RFC for providing the fixture and hope that their players and staff learned as much about their position as Newport did about themselves. The club genuinely wishes our friends at the Bridge Field well and hope that they have a terrific season.
Come on, Newport!
Onwards and upwards Newport.
Your City. Your Colours. Your Club
Final Score – Bedwas RFC 12 Newport RFC 71