By: Paul Hopkins
Mike Rayer’s Bedford Blues proved too strong for a spirited All Whites, who took to the field at Morriston Rugby Club’s Maes Gollen for their opening pre-season friendly.
The visitors enjoyed the brighter start with centre Ethan Grayson making a break through the middle, only for an error to bring an end to the move.
But it was the home side who took the lead when lock Matt Dodd took a lineout on half way with scrum half Matthew Aubrey box kicking ahead for winger Matthew Jenkins to expertly take in the air. A well weighted crossfield kick by fly half Rhys Jones was taken by winger Willis Wood, who fed full back Brandon Wood for a try. Jones missed the conversion.
Fly half Louis Grimoldby found touch with a penalty and the ball was recycled from the lineout, but flanker Kieran Curran was tackled, although a further penalty was awarded for offside. Alex Day took a quick tap penalty, but lock Jordan Onojaife lost possession forward.
A superb break by number eight Cameron King split the Swansea defence, with Curran and Onojaife providing support, before the ball was swept out wide to centre Jordan Venter. He was initially tackled but managed to offload and get the ball out wide for winger Pat Tapley to score. Grimoldby missed the conversion.
Swansea looked to hit back with Brandon Wood and Jenkins linking up out wide, before a well-weighted chip and gather by Rhys Jones sent prop Kian Hire over for a try. Rhys Jones converted.
Aubrey took a quick tap penalty inside the Bedford 22 but lost possession, although play was brought back for another Whites penalty, with Jones choosing to kick a simple three pointer to extend his side’s lead.
Flanker Callum Bowden was penalised for offside with scrum half Alex Day taking a quick penalty, but his chip ahead sailed over the deadball line.
Back row man Alex Frost took a lineout and a missed tackle saw Venter sprint through the middle, with King in support to power up towards the try line. The ball was recycled for prop Jamie Jack to score at the next phase. Grimoldby converted.
Frost and King linked up well at a lineout again, and although Jenkins managed to field a tricky chip ahead, he was dragged back inside his own goal line to put his side under huge pressure.
From the resulting scrum, Day got the ball out to Tapley, but play was brought back for another penalty. Day took it quickly with King brought down inches from the line, before the Whites’ resistance finally gave out with winger Dean Adamson scoring in the corner. Grimoldby converted.
There was still time for the visitors to extend their lead further before the interval as full back Matt Worley put his foot down to glide through the home defence, firing out a scoring pass to Tapley. Grimoldby missed the conversion, but the Blues went into half time with a nine point advantage.
Half-time:- Swansea 15-24 Bedford Blues
The home side refused to give up and got themselves back into the game a few minutes into the second half. A superb 50:22 kick by Jones got his side into an attacking position and a well worked lineout saw Brandon Wood hand a scoring pass to Jenkins. Jones converted.
Bedford should have responded immediately when Adamson made a break, but his seemingly scoring pass to Frost was deemed forward. The Blues were awarded an earlier penalty anyway and took it quickly, but Venter spilled the ball over the line.
Number eight Joe Greaves collected a lineout on the Bedford 22 and a superb long pass out wide saw Jenkins touch down in the corner to restore his side’s lead. Jones’ conversion attempt hit the post.
A well worked move between Worley and Adamson looked like causing the Whites a problem in defence, but Jenkins tracked back, although he gave away a penalty for holding on after the tackle, and was also shown a yellow card.
Things went from bad to worse for the home side when replacement flanker Dai Francis was also sent for a 10 minute spell on the sidelines for a professional foul. Despite a man advantage in the scrum, it was Swansea who earned a relieving penalty.
Bedford replacement James Lennon was yellow carded moments later for deliberate offside and Jones made him pay with a successful penalty goal.
The visitors retook the lead on 62 minutes when a sustained period of pressure resulted in substitute Jake Garside crashing over for a try under the posts. Will Maisey converted.
In a moment of misfortune, centre Joe Thomas threw a pass inside his own 22 that was intercepted with the Blues able to sprint away, allowing Will Glister in for a try. Maisey added the extras.
With the 14 Blues replacements beginning to gel, a sixth visitors try was recorded through Joey Conway, who shrugged off a tackle to score. Maisey converted.
It was a spirited performance by a new look All Whites though and they never gave up with prop Tom Sloane grabbing s consolation try from close range after a period of pressure. Jones converted.
Full-time:- Swansea 35-45 Bedford Blues
Tries:- Brandon Wood (8), Kian Hire (21), Matthew Jenkins (45, 54), Tom Sloane (77)
Cons:- Rhys Jones (22, 78)
Pens:- Rhys Jones (25, 64)
Yellow cards:- Matthew Jenkins (62), Dai Francis (64)
Tries:- Pat Tapley (17, 40+2), Jamie Jack (30), Dean Adamson (39), Jake Garside (68), Will Glister (70), Joey Conway (73)
Cons:- Louis Grimoldby (31, 40), Will Maisey (69, 71, 74)
Yellow cards:- James Lennon (64)
Venue:- Maes Collen, Morriston
Weather:- Cloudy, 20C
Man of the match:- Matt Worley
15 Brandon Wood
14 Willis Wood
13 Joe Thomas
12 Craig Woodall
11 Matthew Jenkins
10 Rhys Jones
9 Matthew Aubrey
1 Freddie Chapman
2 Jamie Cox
3 Kian Hire
4 Chris Thompson
5 Matt Dodd
6 Jay Baker
7 Callum Bowden ©
8 Joe Greaves
Replacements (all used):
16 Fin Thomas
17 Tom Sloane
18 Ed Thompson
19 Sam Martin
20 Dai Francis
21 Gareth J Rees
22 Marcus Brown
23 Will Mahoney
Bedford Blues team:
15 Matt Worley
14 Pat Tapley
13 Ethan Grayson
12 Jordan Venter
11 Dean Adamson
10 Louis Grimoldby
9 Alex Day ©
1 Jamie Jack
2 Jacob Fields
3 Oisin Hefferman
4 Jordan Onojaife
5 Alex Woolford
6 Luke Frost
7 Kieran Curran
8 Cameron King
Replacements (all used):