NEWBRIDGE’S already-slim chances of maintaining their WRU Championship status receded even more following a 14th defeat in 20 matches.

At the top, not-in-league-action leaders Pontypool require just six more points from their remaining half-dozen fixtures to be crowned champions for the third consecutive season and qualify for a promotion play-off clash.

Newbridge went down 20-17 at home against fellow-relegation candidates Beddau, whose outside half Hywel Chatham sealed the win by landing a penalty with the very last kick of the game at the Welfare Ground.

The outcome meant The Pigs picked up only a losing bonus point, yet early on it appeared they were almost entirely out of contention to earn anything at all.

A try from hooker Ethan Coombes try and a conversion by Chatham put the visitors ahead at 7-0 and after Newbridge had cut the deficit with a penalty by full back Eamonn Rees, Chatham put over a similar kick.

Chatham then added the extra two points to a try from left winger Adam Ashford to out Beddau in control at 17-3.

It appeared all but over for Newbridge, but they stormed back with touchdowns from flankers Luke Morgan and Toby Twigg with Rees booting over the conversions.

The next score was going to be crucial and had it gone to Newbridge, then perhaps it may have led to a bonus-point triumph.

But it was not be and Chatham’s late successful penalty deprived the hosts of another two points they would have earned from a draw.

With four to be relegated, Newbridge sit 10th in the 12-strong table and simply must win their two remaining matches - both away.

They travel to face basement outfit Newcastle Emlyn on Saturday before visiting one-from-the-bottom Rhydyfelin on a date yet to be announced - the original match being postponed earlier in the season

Newbridge have 30 points from 20 fixtures and the club sitting in the first safe position, Beddau, have 34 with three fixtures left.

Also locked on 34 points are Tata Steel and Maesteg Harlequins, who have six and seven fixtures left to contest.

After Pooler had won through to the semi finals of the National Cup by beating Bridgend, they discovered two of the three teams chasing them, Ystrad Rhondda and Cardiff Metropolitan University both lost.

YS went down 19-7 at Narberth and CMU 26-15 at Bedlinog, the outcomes ruling both out of catching Pooler.

It all means second-placed Narberth will reach 82 points if they record bonus-point wins from the three games they have left to play, but Pooler already have 77 having won all 16 of their fixtures.

They could actually lift the silverware on Saturday if Narberth do not pick up any points from a trip to face Tata Steel and that scenario would mean a promotion play-off clash for Pooler.

It would see them take on the club finishing fifth from bottom of the Welsh Premiership table and that is, coincidently, currently Bridgend, who Pooler beat at the weekend to earn a place in the National Cup semi-finals..

Next WRU National Championship fixtures: Saturday, March 30: Cardiff Metropolitan University v Pontypool; Newcastle Emlyn v Newbridge; Beddau v Rhydyfelin; Tata Steel v Narberth; Trebanos v Maesteg Harlequins; Ystrad Rhondda v Bedlinog.