If there was ever ‘a game of two halves’ this was it. Newport totally dominated the first half, such dominance should have put the game to bed by half time. The second half belonged to Brynley Toms and his resurgent Bedwas teammates who played some great rugby and came agonizingly close to snatch the spoils at the death as the two teams played to a 18 – 18 draw.
On an overcast, cool January afternoon Newport started at great pace and took the lead via a Haydn Simons penalty goal after 4 minutes.
Bedwas couldn’t establish any platform to respond and made many handling errors as they tried to get into Newport territory. With the scrummage also struggling against Newport’s powerful eight it looked as though the home faithful were in for a long afternoon.
Haydn Simons kicked a second penalty before a clash of heads saw Jonathan Armitage injured and replaced by Dale Rogers.
Newport further increased their advantage as a big gap appeared in the Bedwas backline and former Bedwas player Andy Evans was on hand to finish the move to cross under the posts. Haydn Simons added the conversion. Newport then found themselves a man short as flanker Andrew Mann was sinbinned for a high tackle.
At the other end Bedwas attempts to claw back some points were frustrated by three penalty goal attempts missed by young fly half Evan Lloyd.
Newport’s stranglehold in the scrummage earned them a second try just before the interval as the Bedwas forwards were over powered yet again and from a close range scrum Number 8 Matthew Reed was driven over for a try which went unconverted.
It went from bad to worse at the start of the second half as the referee finally lost patience with the number of scrum penalties Bedwas were conceding resulting in a sin-binning for Chris Budgen,
Bedwas replaced Gareth Allen and Evan Lloyd with James Richards and Jacob Chilcott respectively and then Sam Cochrane for Toms and almost immediately got their reward as recent signing Jonathan Owen Davies crashed over in the corner, Scrivens’ conversion drifting wide.
As Bedwas upped the ante Newport’s discipline imploded and replacement hooker Henry Palmer was sin binned. Bedwas tails were up and five minutes later Davies claimed his second try again unconverted.
It was all Bedwas at this stage and with Newport losing a second player to the sin-bin as captain Ryan James was given an enforced rest Bedwas sensed they might just get something from the game.
Joe Scrivens reduced the arrears from a penalty goal with two minutes remaining to set up a spine tingling finale. Bedwas’ numerical advantage finally paid off as Adam Williams crossed in the left hand corner to tie the scores. Scrivens unfortunately couldn’t convert but Bedwas had earned two vital league points which looked miles away at the interval.