Bedwas 49 Neath 38
BEDWAS overhauled a 14-point half-time deficit to come away with a bonus point victory at a sunny Bridge Field, writes John Meredith.
With Phillip Sargent injured Simon Grainger took over as a captain.
Young Ethan Davies started at outside half with Richard Powell starting on the bench.
Fit gain Ross Wardle started on the wing, and a late change saw Matthew Pettit start at tight head prop in place of Kristian Gay.
Bedwas took a second minute lead via an Ethan Davies penalty after Neath were adjudged to have entered a ruck illegally.
The lead lasted three minutes before two tries in two minutes by Neath scrum half Chris Morgans put the visitors well ahead, Jonny Davies added the conversions. It was all Neath at this stage and Bedwas were on the ropes.
Following a scrum on the halfway line Bedwas came back into it, the ball was spread wide and Stuart Thomas crossed out wide converted by Davies, somewhat against the run of play.
From the restart Neath gained a 40 metre penalty in front of the posts.
But Johnny Davies’ kick went wide, likewise Bedwas’ Davies was wide of the mark with his own attempt from half way shortly afterwards.
Neath ramped up the ante. A missed tackle by Bedwas proved costly as centre Ryan Evans crossed under the sticks, Davies adding the conversion.
Neath looked dangerous with the ball in hand but Jack Dixon made a good break, offloading in the tackle to Matthew Pettit who moved the ball onto Ethan Davies for try he converted himself.
Neath countered and scrum half Morgans added a third try, converted by Davies before Bedwas hooker Ben Roberts was sin binned just before half time for pulling down a maul and Davies added the penalty to put his side 31-17 ahead.
Early in the second half a serious injury to Neath winger Jason Howells held play up for 15 minutes while the medical staff attended to his injury.
The delay did not seem to knock the visitors out of their stride as Gareth Gravell crossed for a converted try soon after the restart.
The turning point came after 50 minutes with Neath a man down in the scrum due to Rhys Jones’ sin-binning, Bedwas earned a penalty try for a professional foul on Scott Williams.
Neath discipline fell away and home replacement Richard Powell (on for Ethan Davies at half-time) made them pay with four penalty goals, which were kicked after 52, 56, 62 and 65 minutes.
Matthew John crossed out wide to put Bedwas ahead before Neath were again on the back foot following a second sin-binning on 68 minutes, this time centre Kyle Davies having an enforced rest after persistent offences saw referee Mr Brickell produce a yellow card.
Great work by the pack earned Bedwas a further penalty converted by Powell before replacement prop Dan Preece completed the comeback on 76 minutes with an unconverted try.
Preece’s try, his first for Bedwas, saw the home team score 32 unanswered points to turn the game around and pull off what had seemed an unlikely victory. It was a great team effort by Bedwas.