Wanderers lock Keith Stewart was at the heart of the Wanderers forwards dominance against Bedwas
Photographer: Alyn Humphreys
Glamorgan Wanderers 14
“Thank Goodness for that” (that’s the polite version!) claimed a relieved Richard Hodges after the Wanderers defied wind, rain, mud and Bedwas to record their first victory since the middle of last month. All credit must be given to the officials and both teams for staging a game that so easily could have been postponed.
Bedwas won the toss and allowed the home side first use of the conditions. With a strong wind and driving rain on their backs the Wanderers were on the attack straight away. An early offence at a line-out by the visitors allowed Aled James the opportunity to open the scoring with a penalty from 25 metres. Soon afterwards James increased the lead with another penalty as Bedwas found it impossible to clear their 22 in the atrocious conditions. A strong hold in the visitors half allowed the Wanderers to begin a series of close quarter drives with the front five consistently carrying the ball forward. Only determined Bedwas defence kept the home side at bay and prevented the opening try. After 21 minutes the Wanderers increased their lead to 9-0 after a strong scrum on the Bedwas put-in resulted in the visitors infringing at a ruck. Aled James being successful with his third penalty. The game continued to be played in the Bedwas half as the visitors were pinned back time and time again by the home side and the elements. All the visitor’s attempts to relieve the pressure found the Wanderers defensive line too strong. After 30 minutes the game came to life as Mark Roper put Aled James through. A fine break split the defence but James elected to put in a kick instead of using his support and the Bedwas line survived. The Wanderers continued to press and as the game neared half time a great drive from the Wanderers, now dominant, scrum gave Richard Thomas the chance to slide over in the mud for the only try of the game. James missed the conversion. Bedwas regained possession from the Kick off but a tremendous tackle from Steve Cullen turned the ball over. Wanderers went back on the attack only for Stuart Thomas, the Bedwas full-back, to mount a rare foray into the home side 22. The home side cleared the danger and the sides went in for a change of kit at the break with the score 14-0.
The question on the lips of the crowd as the second half began was would 14 points be enough. Alex Luff replaced Captain Nick Kelly for the Wanderers and Bedwas established a foothold in the Wanderers half. The visitors brought on some fresh legs for the assault on the home side line but they found the Wanderers pack in no mood to relinquish possession. Despite various attacking ploys Bedwas could find no way through the resolute home side defence and when the Wanderers had the ball the front five made hard yard after hard yard to thwart any comeback attempts. On the rare occasions the Bedwas side moved the ball the Wanderers backs put in telling tackles to turn the ball over and recover possession. The home side introduced 2 new props to the game to give Andrews and Alexander a deserved rest after all the work they had done and the rearguard action continued. The clock slowly started to work against Bedwas as they strove for a score but the lack of quality possession proved to be their undoing. The Wanderers line-out dominated with man of the match (the ever youthful) Keith Stewart getting through tremendous work in both loose and tight. Despite all their efforts Bedwas could not find a way through and as the game drew to a close it was fitting that the Wanderers pack ran down the clock to record the well deserved victory.
Author: Alyn Humphreys