BALA V. BETHESDA
Oct. 5, 2019
Submitted by Herbert Howell
Pre-game speculation, from the side-lines, was that Bala was a few key players short of their usual squad.
Bethesda brought a busload of players and supporters. Soon the players were running through some precise unit skills. Meanwhile, the Bala’s ranks appeared listless and while lacking enthusiasm for the moment! When two upper table Division One clubs meet, anything can happen and probably will. Basically, “expect the unexpected”, ` twas once said.
Right from the beginning, Bethesda was up to the task and just six minutes in capitalized on quick ruck ball a spin it wide, with a couple skips, for winger Williams to put the ball down and the conversion was made: 7-0 visitors. Bala quickly awakened and came right back to score a penalty kick, at the ten minute mark to tighten the match at 7-3. Play evened out as both side utilized their tight fives for many mid field tackles in the centers, with the outside backs doing the rucking!
At the 26 minute mark, Bethesda again got the ball wide from quick possession and but the winger Williams away with his second try. The conversion failed but Bethesda held a 12-3 advantage, but only briefly. Bala came right back with consistent possession and scored a fine try but missed the conversion kick: 12-8 to Bethesda. Just four minutes later.
Just four minute later, Bethesda was again on the attack despite hard tackling by the home XV. The visitors score again on the outside, by Gethin Slong, making it 17-8! The high intensity continued with open field play by both sides which then produced tries for each team, in rapid succession! Shortly Bethesda scrum leader Paul Thomas scored under the posts from a quick offload, the conversion made it 24-17 at the half.
The excitement of the energetic first half was in the air as it became evident that there was not going to be an easy victory by either side. It is often said that Bala sells more coffee than any other club in North Wales, as the rush was on while, the two steaming sides were strategizing the second half play.
Hard rucking and tackling came from both sides without anyone scoring, just threatening. Injury time and replacements were mounting up in the meantime. It was twenty seven minutes before anyone scored, as the wide-open play of the first half was gone and the serious gang tackling dominated play from both sides of the ball. Numerous turnovers reduced the ball possession continuity. Bethesda took advantage of an offside call and converted a three point penalty kick: 27-15.
Bala mounted a barrage of attacks with consistent possessions before scoring and bringing the score to 20-27, but missed the conversion. The battle continued fiercely without further scoring. Plenty of tense moments ensued, while the scoring remained 27-20, for Bethesda, in a well-played match for both sides!
The battle of the second XVs featured plenty of wide open play with the visiting Bethesda coming out a winner by 38-19!