- Outstanding Bedwas defence earns victory for Gwent men
- Rhys Williams stars as Whites clinch losing bonus point
- Matt Dodd dominates the lineout as Whites show signs of improvement
By: Paul Hopkins
A late Swansea onslaught wasn’t quite enough as Richard Lancaster’s side fell to a 15-20 defeat at home to Bedwas.
The visitors looked set to score an early try in the early moments following a superb break by centre Adam Williams, but scrum half Luke Crane spilled the inside pass forward with the line at his mercy.
Soon after the visitors were back on the attack and Williams made no mistake this time as he sprinted past the Whites defence from half way to score in the corner. Centre Steffan Jones missed the conversion.
Bedwas continued to attack and lock Geraint Edmunds took a crash ball, with prop Rhys Hutcherson making vital yards. The ball was the swept out wide to winger Mathew John, but the move broke down thanks to a handling error.
With Swansea looking to counterattack from deep centre Richard Fussell lost the ball under pressure. It was to prove costly as the home side were put under pressure at the resulting scrum, gifting Jones an easy three points.
Full back Aaron Bramwell made a run from deep for the visitors and winger Andrew Claypole dropped a high ball under little pressure. Another infringement at the scrum saw the home front row warned by referee Ben Breakspear, but Jones failed with his effort at goal.
Swansea got their first points on the board courtesy of a penalty goal by fly half Gareth Walters after a good run by Claypole forced the visitors offside in midfield.
A quick tap penalty by scrum half Matthew Aubrey saw the backs get quick ball out wide, but winger Dan Howells dropped the ball a few metres from the try line.
The Swansea pack mauled forward from their own twenty-two towards the line and flanker James Richards was yellow carded for bringing it down. The Whites failed to make the visitors pay though as Aubrey threw a pass forward.
From the scrum, the home side used their numerical advantage to drive Bedwas off the ball with number eight Jon Fox picking up a loose ball to score. Walters missed the conversion.
Bramwell lost the ball in contact, allowing Swansea to mount one final attack before half time, but Walters chose to kick for touch.
Half-time:- Swansea 8 Bedwas 8
After the interval a Swansea attack was stopped by a Williams high tackle on Fox and Aubrey kicked his side into promising territory. Lock Matt Dodd took the lineout, but Richards stole the ball from his grasp, although he failed to make the most of the opportunity.
Number eight Andrew Waite made a powerful surge into the Swansea twenty-two and was supported by replacement flanker Brynley Toms. With the forwards tied up at the breakdown, a long pass out wide by Crane led to a try in the corner for winger Pat Lewis. Jones missed the conversion.
The home pack gave away another penalty at the scrum and Jones found touch on the twenty-two, but Richards spilled the lineout forward.
Claypole broke through a tackle and used his pace to sprint into the twenty-two, but the visitors stoke possession at the ruck. A poor clearance kick gave the home side another chance and they earned a penalty, which Walters chipped to the corner.
The lively Dodd charged through the middle as Swansea inched closer to the visitors’ line. Then quick ball out wide saw Howells dive over to score in the corner to tie the scores. Walters converted to take his side into the lead for the first time.
Bedwas hit back immediately when a home attack broke down and fly half Lewis Evans raced into the Swansea half with John providing the support to dance past two tackles to score. Jones converted.
Superb juggling skills next to the whitewash by John almost resulted in another try for the visitors, and it took three men to bundle him into touch inches short of the line.
Then Waite pealed off the back of a scrum and found replacement scrum half Tom Rowlands, but he spilled the ball forward in the twenty-two.
Replacement centre Mike Callow showed great strength to work his way deep into Swansea territory, but his forwards were slow to arrive and were penalised for diving over the top.
Replacements Tom Ball and Fenton Holder both charged towards the line and Walters was held up just short as Swansea battered the visitors’ defence. It took a monumental effort by Bedwas to hold the Whites at bay to close out a hard fought victory.
Full-time:- Swansea 15 Bedwas 20
Tries:- Jon Fox (40+1), Dan Howells (62)
Cons:- Gareth Walters (63)
Pens:- Gareth Walters (31)
Tries:- Adam Williams (6), Pat Lewis (50), Mathew John (66)
Cons:- Steffan Jones (67)
Pens:- Steffan Jones (17)
Yellow cards:- James Richards (39)
Venue:- St Helen’s, Swansea
Referee:- Craig Evans
Weather:- Partly cloudy, 7C
Man of the match:- Adam Williams
15 Luke Griffiths
14 Andrew Claypole
13 Richard Fussell
12 J Rhys Williams
11 Dan Howells
10 Gareth Walters
9 Matthew Aubrey
1 Richard Murphy (rep: Chris Thomas 80+4)
2 Paul John (rep: Tom Ball 76)
3 Mitchell Walsh (rep: Fenton Holder 63)
4 Matt Dodd
5 Sam Kiley (rep: James Parry 63)
6 Jay Williams
7 Jon Vaughan (rep: Steffan Jones 76)
8 Jon Fox ©
16 Tom Ball
17 Chris Thomas
18 Fenton Holder
19 Steffan Jones
20 James Parry
21 Rhodri Wells
22 Owen Howe
23 Jake Randall
15 Aaron Bramwell (rep: Mike Hathaway 67)
14 Pat Lewis
13 Steffan Jones
12 Adam Williams (rep: Mike Callow 63)
11 Mathew John
10 Lewis Evans
9 Luke Crane (rep: Tom Rowlands 60)
1 Tom Devine (rep: Dan Preece 54)
2 Alun Rees © (rep: Dale Rogers 72)
3 Rhys Hutcherson (rep: Dan Suter 63)
4 Geraint Edmunds (rep: Mike Dacey 67)
5 Gareth Allen
6 James Richards
7 Nathan Hudd (rep: Brynley Toms 47)
8 Andrew Waite
16 Brynley Toms
17 Mike Dacey
18 Dan Suter
19 Dale Rogers
20 Dan Preece
21 Tom Rowlands
22 Mike Callow
23 Mike Hathaway