With a chilling mist swirling around spectators needed some warming and, fortunately, the players from both sides obliged. It was never a spectacle, the sides are too evenly matched for that, but it was edge of the seat stuff played right to the final whistle.
Beddau had been making most of the running early on but were getting no change from a strong Bedlinog defence. A good cover tackle from Foxes flanker Luke Morgan prevented a Callum Wheeler offload that would have freed Cody Baker but the winger was next involved in an incident which asks a lot of referees. A sliding kick from Hywel Chatham was being pursued by Cody Baker when it took a skip. Foxes winger Tom Evans leapt to take the ball and Baker, also reaching for the ball, made contact. Mr John produced a yellow card which, in the circumstances, was a well-considered judgement.
Penalties were few and far between but when Bedlinog strayed at the breakdown Hywel Chatham landed the three-pointer. As in the case of buses the next penalty came almost at once. This time Beddau`s interference at the tackle allowed Iain Smerdon to restore parity.
A dash from Ben Grzesica threatened Beddau`s line but on working their way clear the hosts were soon in the shadow, if, on a grey day there had been any shadows, of the posts at the other end where, for preventing release, Hywel Chatham made it 6-3.
In the dying seconds of the half Beddau scrum half Jay Harris was felled while in chase of his own kick ahead. Bedlinog lock Ian Davies saw yellow but Hywel Chatham`s 50 metre effort passed beneath the bar and it remained 6-3 at half time.
The second half had delivered much of the same with neither side able to breach firm defences until a drive by Beddau`s forwards led to a try for tight head Adam Court to put the icing on the cake of a mighty performance in the tight. Beddau, though, lost promising lock Ryan Bean to injury in the build-up to the try.
Beddau offended at the restart and Bedlinog entrusted the long range effort to full back Dan Parry. His kick rebounded from an upright but slipped from Beddau fingers to give the resurgent Foxes an attacking scrum. Beddau`s rejigged pack held but a pass found Iain Smerdon who landed a drop goal to make it 11-6. A Beddau handling move then broke down and the Foxes reacted quickly to mount a swift counter. Thomas Hiscock took it on at first and with Dan Parry making the extra man room was created for Number 8 Andrew Murphy to gallop along the touchline for a good score. Smerdon was unable to convert and at 11 all the scoreboard just about had it summed up.
Beddau were not done though and while Bedlinog had pulled down the shutters Hywel Chatham dropped into a pocket, Carl Lewis made the pass and Chatham slotted the drop goal that proved the winning score.
Both sides emerged with credit for a hard fought, no quarter given encounter. Beddau are still beset by injuries with regulars David Francis and Lewis Egal not yet ready for selection. Tight head Meurig Davies reports that the leg injury suffered at Pontypool may not be as serious as first thought and he may be able to resume training early in the New Year. Lock James Cashin, tied up with work commitments for a few weeks, is almost ready to resume but Matthew Howells, who has figured at hooker and in the back row took a knock as did new lock Ryan Bean and the damage is yet to be assessed.
Report by Lynn West