B ATTLING Bargoed made Merthyr fight for every inch and every point, but it was the champions who emerged with another full-house as they scored six tries.
The home side, fighting for survival in the Principality Premiership, got off to the worse possible of starts as they failed to send the kick-off the required 10 metres and they found themselves being shunted back at the ensuing scrum.
Merthyr flexed their muscles and after kicking to the corner they worked prop Louis Jones over from close range for the first of their tries after only four minutes. Matt Jarvis failed to convert that one, but the full back was bang on target seven minutes later after wing Josh Martin had just found the line.
Up to that point the home side had sat back and let their illustrious visitors dictate proceedings. They were off the pace and lacking in physicality, but that all changed midway through the first half.
They gained confidence after finally going through a few phases and when Josh Prosser converted a 23rd minute penalty you could see the confidence flowing into the home side. Now it was an even physical battle with the outstanding Bargoed back row duo of Adam Powell and Ben Fry relishing the close quarter contact work.
Merthyr lock Paddy McBride crossed from a ruck on the home line to notch his side’s third try, which Jarvis duly improved, but there was a great response from Bargoed just before the break when powerful wing Ashley Norton came in off the flank on a scissors move before barging past two Merthyr defenders to score.
Prosser’s conversion cut the gap to seven points at the break and the champions knew they had a challenge on their hands. They reverted to the power game at the start of the second half and it paid dividends as scrum half Justin James rode on the back of a driving line-out to cross for the bonus point try six minutes after the re-start.
Another driving line-out move paved the way for flanker Jack Perkins to power over from a metre out and two more Jarvis conversions made it 31-10. But Bargoed were done just yet.
They brought old heads Grant Rogers, Rhys Morgan and Geraint Edmunds and gave the Ironmen a dose of their own medicine with some real grunt up front. Having totally destroyed one Merthyr scrum to earn a penalty that got the crowd roaring their approval, they then picked up a push-over try for No 8 Powell.
Prosser added the extras to cut the gap to 14 points as the game moved into the final quarter. Now it was a much more even contest and Merthyr were forced to defend strongly to prevent their hosts from adding to their tally.
In the end, there was still one more try to come from the champions as they worked replacement wing Adam Hoskins over in the right corner four minutes from time. Jarvis landed his fourth conversion of the afternoon and Merthyr were home and dry.