Merthyr 26 Beddau 32 Swalec Division One East Match Report by Lynn West
The game could, and perhaps should, have been wrapped up by half time. Beddau's profligacy almost proved their undoing in the face of a determined late comeback by the Ironmen. The youngsters representing the home team had been overwhelmed early on but Beddau had little to show for their efforts. Strong running centre Sam Campbell constantly raced into the heart of the Merthyr defence and, just as constantly the tackling of back rowers Geraint Edmunds and Aaron Harris blocked the channels. It took a steal by the impressive Polo Uhi to get Beddau moving. The right wing had followed play into midfield where he dislodged the ball in a tackle and set left wing Ieuan Coombes on a run to the corner to add to Stephen Robinson's early penalty.
For Merthyr the pressure continued but with Beddau, as last week, spurning an easy penalty in favour of a scrum and then failing to make best use of a glaring overlap the home side were able to eventually find a way into Beddau's half. An offence at the tackle gave Lloyd Hines a long range penalty which he succesfully steered through the posts. On a rare visit to the Beddau 22 Merthyr again profited when a defender strayed offside and Lloyd Hines took the half time score to 6-8.
Simon Wilde had been nursing a muscle strain but Beddau had decided to start with the seasoned prop only to experience the irony of the much younger Will Griff John succumbing in the early stages. Liam Bodman took his place but any plans to remove Wilde from the fray were abandoned and the veteran saw the game out. Not so scrum half Dai Francis who injured a shoulder in being the instrument of Beddau's second try. Exchanging passes with Polo Uhi the scrum half pierced the defence on Merthyr's left. A penalty at the tackle was grabbed by Rhys Watkins and the flanker tapped and drove to the line for Stephen Robinson to convert.
Bradley Coombes then got into the picture. A sumptuous break took him away fro the cover and his unselfish offload provided a try for replacement Abraham "Ace" Papii. In converting Stephen Robinson became only the third Beddau player to pass 50 points in a heavily fractured season where he has, himself had to endure long spells on the sidelines. Another long term casualty now restored to full fitness is left wing Ieuan Coombes and when he produced a brilliant curving run out of defence replacement scrum half Lloyd Peart, another who has not had his injury troubles to seek, scampered in.
At 27-6 it was game,set and match, or so one would have thought. A penalty from the restart was quickly taken by Merthyr and although the first pass was dropped unsighted referee Craig Evans allowed the move to continue and Rhys Walker crossed in the corner. Tommy Guy back, dare I say it, from injury had entered the fray but within minutes was told his services was not needed for the next ten minutes. Merthyr made instant use of the scrummage numbers to force Beddau back with burly number eight Geraint Edmunds claiming the pushover.
Next an awkwardly bouncing ball near the Merthyr 22 fell kindly for Rhys Walker and the youngster began a thrilling counter which went through several phases before flanker Aaron Harris finished. The score was 21-27 but Rhys Watkins broke up a Merthyr maul and fed Bradley Coombes. The Beddau centre needs little invitation to exploit the broken field and he duly landed his 14th try of the season. There was still time for another Merthyr score and again it was Geraint Edmunds who provided it by crashing over at the corner flag. Beddau were happy to see out the closing seconds of a match where their try scoring bonus was reflected by one for Merthyr who also earned a losing bonus point as worthy reward for a brave and entertaining effort.