Wanderers succumb to Bargoed power
“I’m proud of the boys. They stuck at it and were rewarded with a couple of tries at the end of the game. Unfortunately, their power up front took its toll. This is the level our players must aspire to play at if they are going to compete in this Championship.” Commented Martyn Fowler.
On a showery afternoon at the Memorial ground the tone of the game was set early on. Bargoed’s power game of driving lineouts, a powerful scrum and heavy carrying forwards put the Wanderers under pressure and the home side were forced into several defensive sets as tacklers were stretched to their limits. The home side struggled to relieve the pressure and conceding penalties in and around halfway added to the problems as it allowed the visitors to kick deep into Wanderers territory. It was no surprise that Bargoed soon opened the scoring from one such penalty. A well-executed driving lineout was eventually forced over for the first try duly converted 0-7. The home side were struggling to get a foothold in the game as possession was difficult to come by but good defensive work frustrated the visitors and despite convincing advantage of territory and possession they failed to add to the score. After 22 minutes Bargoed landed a penalty to extend the lead to 0-10 but the Wanderers started to show some endeavour. With centres Josh Male and Cameron Gibbon carrying well the home side started to cause a few problems for the Bargoed defence. A scrum penalty inside the visitor’s half allowed Paul Short a chance and he opened the Wanderers scoring with a penalty 3-10. The game ebbed and flowed for a time with the Wanderers, favouring a less structured approach, continuing to frustrate the visitors. Gibbon then found space in midfield and he scythed through the Bargoed defence. The home side recycled the ball well and with the line beckoning a deliberate knock on stifled the attack. The subsequent penalty gave Short his second penalty 6-10. Back came Bargoed and once again their powerful pack set the tone as they pressurised the home side. The half entered its final minutes with continued frustration for the visitors. They did extend the lead with a penalty 6-13 but the Wanderers ended the half on the attack as a good carry by Josh Male and James Loxton nearly resulted in a score but the Bargoed defence scrambled well to send the sides into the break at 6-13.
The visitors were straight on the attack from the outset once again and the Wanderers defence were forced to absorb powerful drive after powerful drive. Another penalty allowed Bargoed to set up field position and once again a driving lineout provided dividend as they crossed for their second try 6-20. The visitors had clearly decided this was the approach for the half and despite their efforts to break clear they were always on the back foot. Déjà vu struck soon afterwards as yet another penalty was kicked deep resulting in the same drive and the third try for the visitors 6-25. With a stranglehold on the game Bargoed started to send for fresh legs and the Wanderers also started to unload their bench. The bonus point try came soon afterwards but his time it was a move in midfield that broke the defence. Lineout ball was moved into the centre and a powerful run cut the line and once behind they raced away for a well worked try 6-32. With the game now beyond them the Wanderers started to open up their play. Will Adams Jones found some space and he took play deep and for once it was the visitor’s defensive line under pressure. The home side showed what they are capable of with Luke Kendall carrying well and when deep in the Bargoed 22 the ball went wide. The ball was temporarily lost and that bounce seemed to halt the onrushing tacklers. The home side gathered the ball and Adams Jones raced over to score the Wanderers first try 11-32. Buoyed by the score and with time running out the home side came straight back on the attack. Kendall moved the ball wide from midfield and after good recycling the home side took the play deep. Rob Evans, on as a sub, neatly nutmegged a defender, gathered the ball himself and put James Loxton over for a score 16-32. Bargoed regathered themselves but the Wanderers defence was solid in the dying minutes and the game ended with the deserved bonus point win for Bargoed but with the home side feeling that they certainly competed against a much more powerful opposition. Final Score 16-32.
Tries: Will Adams Jones, James Loxton
Pens: Paul Short (2)
Wanderers Management man of the match: Luke Kendall
Massiv man of the match: Cameron Gibbon