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1ST XV - Match centre

Beddau Rugby Football Club
Pontypool
Sat 10 Sep 14:30 - League Full time

Last Gasp Penalty Denies Green & Gold Bonus Point

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Home side remain pointless following second successive defeat

After an opening day defeat Beddau would have chosen less testing opponents than the overwhelming Championship favourites Pontypool. The well-supported visitors certainly brought some colour to the occasion and a decent-sized crowd was served a match that held its drama right to the close.

Pooler were penalised for taking the scrum down at halfway. Hywel Chatham`s touch finder saw young back rower Leon Rogers make a clean catch and with Cody Baker entering from the wing Beddau knifed through the startled Pontypool defence for Lewis Egal to go clear. Hywel Chatham`s conversion gave Beddau an early 7-0 lead.

For much of the half the battle was being carried, on the one hand, by Pooler`s powerful forwards and Beddau`s more adventurous backs on the other. Little quarter was given and it was Beddau next to score when Hywel Chatham converted with Pooler were penalised for offside in midfield. Beddau had their tails up and when Pontypool flanker Rob Nash was sent to the bin Chatham curled in another fine penalty to make it 13-0.

Pooler are nothing if not resilient and a penalty at the restart was placed to touch. The drive from the lineout was halted illegally and yellow appeared again, this time to Beddau`s Matthew Howells. A tap and go penalty saw Pooler`s forwards in driving action but when the pile-up went down referee Neil Jones went under the posts and Matthew Jones completed the formalities.
There was time for the visitors to strike again. This time Matthew Jones spurned an easy penalty in favour of the touchline. An almighty surge from the catch and drive succeeded and lock Matthew Thomas was awarded the touchdown which, from a wide angle, Matthew Jones improved taking the visitors to a 14-13 lead at the interval.

Pontypool grabbed the early initiative in the second half but were finding Beddau a tough nut to crack. One opening appeared when full back Kieran Meek gathered his own high kick and with Brandon Kent at his shoulder a try looked assured. The full back delayed his pass, though, and young Beddau centre Adam Ashford made a fine tackle to save the day. A penalty was awarded for not rolling away and Matthew Jones took the points. Beddau were penalised at a scrum shortly afterwards and the Jones penalty took the lead to 20-13.

Controversy will invariably raise its head and here Beddau won a penalty in the Pooler half. David Francis took it quickly and was racing clear when Matthew Thomas just clipped the ankle with a trip. The lock saw yellow and Hywel Chatham goaled the penalty. It was, though, a calculated piece of foul play and many would have seen a red card as the appropriate sanction.
Within minutes, Beddau`s replacement flanker Jordan Goodwin was carded for preventing clearance and the long range goal from Matthew Jones made it 23-16.

Beddau`s response was to attack at every option but with Lewis Egal charging into the Pooler midfield and needing three players to halt his progress Beddau would surely have profited from quick release. Pooler prevented that and won an unlikely penalty. Matthew Jones kicked fully 60 metres to touch. A Beddau offence at the lineout gave Matthew Jones a chance and his superb kick stole Beddau`s bonus point.

Beddau are now, with Newbridge, the only sides yet to register a point in the table. Performances like this will, though, have encouraged a belief that the table is there to be climbed. Certainly coach Ross Johnston feels that the game gave him rather more plusses than the result would suggest.

Report by Lynn West

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