PRINCIPALITY PREMIERSHIP EAST
Jones the star for Bedwas as Merthyr fail to find form
MERTHYR .................... 24 BEDWAS ....................... 37
VISITING outside half Steffan Jones finished the game with 20 points as he steered Bedwas to a bonus-point win at the Wern over reigning champions Merthyr who, for the second week running, did not show any signs of last season’s form.
Merthyr started the brighter of the two sides and took an early lead when centre Teri Gee found a huge gap in the Bedwas defence 35 meters out to race away for a try which full back Matthew Jarvis converted. However, this was shorted lived as Merthyr were penalised for offside 25 meters out with Jones making no mistake with the three points. Merthyr then extended the lead when a drop pass in midfield saw centre Gee kick ahead and the race for the try line was won by scrum half Justin James to touch down under the posts, Jarvis converted and Merthyr were ahead 14-3.
Bedwas looked dangerous as they began to settle with both forwards and backs putting some good phases of play together and this was rewarded when referee Adam Jones awarded a penalty try following a Bedwas player being tackled without the ball, which saw Merthyr hooker Richard Wilkes being shown a yellow card and Bedwas closed the gap 14-10.
Bedwas took advantage of the extra man as they drove the Merthyr pack off the ball at a scrum which resulted in a penalty which Jones converted to bring the half time score 14-13.
Things didn’t get any better at the start of the second half for Merthyr as they failed to make the kick off safe and when the ball was recycled by Bedwas their backs spread it wide to wingman George Gasson who crossed for the try wide out, Jones converted to give Bedwas a 14-20 lead.
Merthyr hit straight back when they were awarded a penalty in the Bedwas 22. They turned the kick for goal down and kicked for the corner. From the lineout, won by young second row Ben Murphy, the pack drove towards the Bedwas line, and after several attempts prop Joe Rees crashed over for the try to reduce the gap to one point 19-20.
The game was now evenly balanced with both sides looking for a score and it was Bedwas that stretched the lead when Steffan Jones gathered his own kick ahead to beat the Merthyr defence to score Bedwas’s third try which he converted to give them a 19-27 lead. Back came Merthyr with their threequarters moving the ball wide which saw wingman Steff Andrews race up field and when the ball was recycled Bedwas were caught off side. From the penalty, Merthyr kicked for touch and once again drove towards the Bedwas line and this time back rowman Tom Daley crashed over, Jarvis hitting the posts with the conversion, but Merthyr had closed the gap to three points 24-27.
Bedwas were then reduced to 14 men when replacement prop Brynley Toms was yellow carded but Bedwas dug deep as Merthyr threw everything at them looking for that vital score. With time running out a stray pass from replacement Richard Powell was gathered up by the Bedwas forwards and they drove towards the Merthyr 22, and quick ball was moved wide to replacement wing Ollie Halford who crossed for the try, Jones added the extras to give Bedwas a 10-point lead 24-34.
As hard as Merthyr tried they could not find a way through the Bedwas defence and on the stroke of full-time Bedwas were awarded a penalty inside their own half, and from 60 meters man of the match Steffan Jones converted the kick to give Bedwas a thoroughly deserved 24-37 victory.
This was once again a disappointing result for the Ironmen who seemed to have lost their form of last season. However they must now put these early setbacks behind them as they head to Sardis Road this weekend for a local derby against Pontypridd.
Rhys Hutcherson looks for a way past Merthyr’s Edd Siggery
Bedwas man of the match Luke Crane gets the ball away from a scrum