Wanderers beat battling Beddau
“Another step in the right direction, we are simmering nicely” Commented backs coach Darren Gibbon as the Wanderers put in another solid performance to progress in the Championship cup. “Players in the squad now know that there is real competition for places a month away from the league campaign”
“Still plenty of things to work on” added Manager Mark Gould “and we only lost one match ball today up a tree, so it was a good day all round!”
On a grey but warm day at the Memorial Ground the early exchanges were cagey from both sides. The Wanderers had the better of the field position but could not convert opportunities into points. Zak Fifield made inroads into the Beddau 22 but despite good recycled ball the Beddau defence scrambled well and nullified the threat. Eventually the deadlock was broken. A penalty awarded to the visitors failed to find touch and Dafydd Smith scythed his way through the defence. Josh Male was in support and after taking the pass he raced away to score the first try. Paul Short slotted a conversion from the touchline 7-0. Beddau responded well but the Wanderers defence survived several sorties into their half and the home side back three always looked to counter with Tom Hughes, back in the side after injury, always dangerous with the ball in open play. The new 50-20 rule was in evidence on a few occasions for the first time this season as first Short then Beddau gained footholds with kicks from deep. The Wanderers then forged further ahead. A training ground move from off the top lineout ball was neatly played in midfield and Cameron Gibbon knifed through the defensive line, rounded the cover and scored the second try. Short converted again 14-0. Despite the score it was certainly not all one sided and Beddau were slowly warming to their task. The crowd were certainly enjoying the entertainment from both sides with the ball in play and both sides willing to play rugby. Beddau were set back when they lost a player to what looked like a serious knee injury, but they continued to pressure the Wanderers when the chance arose. Soon afterwards they opened their account. A penalty deep in the home side 22 was taken quickly as several home side players appeared to stop as the referee went to his pocket for a card. The defence stalled and Beddau crashed over to reduce the arrears 14-5. The Wanderers were soon back on the attack. A 5-metre lineout gave them opportunity, but the visitors defended well and gained a penalty with good jackaling. As the half entered its final minutes the home side were forced into a front row change with Owen Hatherill leaving the field with an elbow injury. He was replaced by Eddie Drake. The game ebbed and flowed and the Wanderers added a third try before the break. An attack from deep was recycled well in the Beddau 22 and Short stabbed the ball though the defence and Jamie Murray collected it to touch down. Short again converted and the sides went into the break at 21-5.
The visitors began the second half brightly and the Wanderers came under sustained pressure. Beddau used their forwards to great effect and recycled the ball well. The home side defended well but eventually the defence was thinned out and when a one-on-one tackle was missed they crashed over to make it 21-10. Certainly game on. As per last week the Wanderers appeared to sit back and seemed happy to absorb the attacks. A risky approach and the Beddau side gained in confidence. Once again more and more forward drives set about pressurising the Wanderers line and despite several defensive sets repelling the attacks eventually the score was inevitable. It came in the form of the third Beddau try and with the conversion good it was game on at 21-17. The Wanderers were shaken into action and on a rare outing to the Beddau 22 a penalty allowed Short to once again put some daylight on the scoreboard 24-17. The collective sigh of relief was then followed up with the decisive fourth try. Scrum ball was moved wide. Hughes once again cut a lovely line through the defence and he fed Murray who raced over for his second try 29-17. Beddau rallied and they camped down in the home side 22. After a few penalties the Wanderers saw yellow with Jack James going to the bin. Another new rule popped up with the home side dropping out from their goal-line and with James in the bin a new look front row was employed for the last few minutes. The Wanderers did go close with new recruit Tom Richards on the attack and at the death Richards was to the fore again covering superbly when Beddau broke clear. That proved to be the last action of a thoroughly entertaining game. Wanderers win 29-17.
Tries: Josh Male, Jamie Murray (2) Cameron Gibbon
Cons: Paul Short (3)
Pen: Paul Short
Management MOM: Paul Short
Massiv MOM: Paul Short
Pics on Flickr https://flic.kr/ps/c7gzd