By: Paul Hopkins
A late Barney Nightingale try ensured the All Whites suffered a late defeat to rivals Bargoed in a thrilling encounter.
A quick tap penalty by scrum half Tom Ham saw the Whites counterattack from their own twenty-two, but winger Ashley Norton picked up a loose pass and shrugged off a couple of tackles to score the opening try. Fly half Josh Prosser converted.
Winger Joe Jenkins collected the restart for the visitors, but Bargoed defended well and a huge hit forced hooker Paul John to hold on after the tackle.
Hooker Wade Langley charged through the middle, but found himself isolated, giving fly half Phil Jones an opportunity to kick deep into Bargoed territory. Lock James Ratti collected the lineout, but centre Callum Carson’s chip through sailed into touch.
Flanker Callum Bowden came within inches of scoring after fielding a loose Bargoed lineout and support arrived quickly for John to crash over for a try under the posts. Jones converted.
Swansea were straight back on the attack with a superb break by Carson, who found Jones in support, but the move lost impetus and the home side were awarded a reliving penalty.
The home backs upped the pace with Norton using his power out wide to set up an attack, but Prosser’s chip through beat the chasing Norton into touch.
Jones found touch on the twenty-two with a penalty and Ratti rose high to take the lineout, sending the Whites’ pack mauling forward. The home defence had no option but to illegally bring down the maul so Jones chipped to touch again. This time the visitors spread the ball wide and Ratti charged over to score. Jones converted.
On the stroke of half time centre Darren Humphries made a half break from an advancing scrum, but flanker Grant Rogers became isolated and held on after the tackle.
Half-time:- Bargoed 7 Swansea 14
A hurried clearance by centre R Rhys Williams gifted Bargoed a penalty and Prosser chipped to the corner, but winger Duane Dyer failed to hold onto a pass.
Ratti was penalised for holding on after the tackle and Prosser cut the deficit to just four points.
Winger Ryan Griffiths strayed in front of a high kick so Prosser kicked deep into the Swansea twenty-two. Replacement hooker Rhys Buckley superbly pealed off a rolling maul to score. Prosser converted.
Another powerful maul by the home pack was stopped a metre short of the line, but Bargoed remained patient and prop John Lavender squeezed over for a try. Prosser curled the conversion through the posts.
The Whites hit back when lock Jay Williams raced through a gap in the home defence and threw a scoring pass out wide to full back Luke Griffiths. Jones missed the conversion.
Swansea retook the lead after Jay Williams and Bowden ran at the Bargoed defence at pace, before replacement number eight Charlie Davies picked up ball at the base of the ruck to score. Jones converted.
But the home side struck with a few minutes left on the clock when centre Nightingale sprinted through a couple of tackles to score in the corner. Prosser converted.
Next up for Bargoed is a trip to Ebbw Vale while Swansea host title chasers Cardiff.
Full-time:- Bargoed 31 Swansea 26
Tries:- Ashley Norton (7), Grant Rogers (56), John Lavender (61), Rhys Buckley (78)
Cons:- Josh Prosser (8, 57, 62, 79)
Pens:- Josh Prosser (52)
Tries:- Paul John (24), James Ratti (40+1), Luke Griffiths (64), Charlie Davies (69)
Cons:- Phil Jones (25, 40+2, 70)
Venue:- Bargoed Park
Referee:- Simon Mills
Weather:- Sunny, 11C
Man of the match:- Louis Blacker
15 Calum Jones
14 Duane Dyer (rep: Jordan Purcell 72)
13 Barney Nightingale
12 Darren Humphries
11 Ashley Norton
10 Josh Prosser
9 James Leadbeater
1 John Lavender (rep: Rhys Morgan 72)
2 Wade Langley (rep: Mike Kavanagh 44)
3 Alex Gardner-Key
4 Geraint Edmunds (rep: Ashley Gibson 72)
5 Adam Powell (rep: James Locke 26)
6 Lewis Johnson (rep: Matt Thomas 48)
7 Grant Rogers
8 Louis Blacker ©
16 Matt Bancroft
17 Jordan Purcell
18 Ashley Gibson
19 Matt Thomas
20 James Locke
21 Mike Kavanagh
22 Rhys Buckley
23 Rhys Morgan
15 Luke Griffiths
14 Ryan Griffiths
13 R Rhys Williams
12 Callum Carson
11 Joe Jenkins (rep: Mike Evans 41)
10 Phil Jones
9 Tom Ham (rep: Chris Morgans 58)
1 Tom Sloane
2 Paul John (rep: Garin Lloyd 65)
3 Richard Murphy (rep: Alun Dew 40+4-41, 58)
4 James Ratti
5 Jay Williams
6 Duane Eager
7 Callum Bowden
8 Jon Fox © (rep: Charlie Davies 50)
16 Garin Lloyd
17 Jack Powell
18 Alun Dew
19 Sam Kiley
20 Charlie Davies
21 Chris Morgans
22 Steffen Williams
23 Mike Evans