Wanderers dig deep to deny Bedwas
“The result may not cause a stir within the big scheme of things but for this group of players it was huge” commented Brendon Lampitt having played 75 minutes longer than he wanted to!
“The boys dug so deep. The guts and determination showed by the whole squad was tremendous” added Martyn Fowler “two players played having not trained due to illness, an 18 year old playing his first senior game, Captain Versatile playing at least 4 different positions and back row players playing centre and wing. Very difficult to find fault”
On a cold and windy day with a vicious cross wind the busiest person at the Wanderers was Gemma the physio who was on the pitch longer than several of our backs! The Wanderers had first use of the ball and had the better of the early exchanges, going through the phases they retained the ball well only to be thwarted by excellent Bedwas defence. An early penalty for offside did give the home side a start as Gruff Tough landed the first 3 points of the game but soon afterwards the steady stream of injuries started. Tom Hughes was first to leave forcing the first reshuffle in the Wanderers back line. Tough landed a second penalty 6-0 before the visitors started to get into their stride. A penalty gave Bedwas good field position and when the home side defence was forced to concede a lineout deep in the 22 the visitors struck. A neatly worked front peel saw them cross in the corner and a superb touchline conversion put them ahead 6-7. From the kick off Bedwas were straight back on the attack and they enjoyed a good spell of pressure forcing the scrambled Wanderers defence to dig deep for the first but not last time in the game. A yellow card for use of the shoulder saw the visitors reduced to 14 for 10 minutes and more reshuffling in the Wanderers back line was required when scrum half Dan James left the field to be replaced by Jamie Murray. Despite the tough conditions both sides were doing their best to play expansive rugby but neither side could find a significant breakthrough to improve the scoreboard position. Another Bedwas foray into the Wanderers 22 resulted in a goal line drop out and Tough took the kick but it was to be his last action in the game as he departed with a hamstring injury. This meant more reshuffling with Alfie Llewellyn moving from 7 to 11, Captain Gibbon moving to 9 and Ioan Cooper who had started on the wing moving to 10 after a spell at fullback! Up front Rob Weston took a place in the second row and Tom Caple, starting a senior game for the first time moved from second row to the back row. The only non-moveable thing was the front row who put in a sterling 80-minute display! The game edged into injury time in the first half with the stalemate continuing but just before the break the home side struck. CJ Davies turned the ball over and took play deep. A penalty was awarded and from the subsequent lineout a neat move saw Weston barge over for the Wanderers first try. Half time 11-7.
The second half saw the visitors get into their stride early and the Wanderers were once again forced to dig deep. The game became camped in the home side half and it was all hands to the coalface as the home side battled to keep the visitors out. It was against the run of play that the next score came. Bedwas were on the attack but when the ball was moved wide it was spilled and Jamie Murray set off for the line. Hogging the touchline he raced away and showed a clean pair of heels to the defence to score in the corner. Cooper missed the conversion but the Wanderers were ahead 16-7. The score galvanised Bedwas into action. Stringing phase after phase together they mounted a series of attacks and it was no surprise to see them reduce the arrears with a try making it 16-12 with plenty of time left in the game. The visitors started to empty their bench bringing on fresh legs as they strove for the winning score but the home side defence continued to frustrate their attempts. One spilled Wanderer’s ball was fly-hacked deep for the Bedwas chasers only for the ball to go dead to the relief of the Wanderers faithful. The game entered its final minutes and the attacks continued. The home side pack dug even deeper and Gemma moved from back-to-back easing sore limbs as the Wanderers hung on. As time started to run out the Wanderers scrum came up trumps with a good nudge causing a penalty for crossing as the Bedwas number 8 picked up and the home side cleared their lines. Having regained possession deep in their own 22 the Wanderers forwards took control of the ball (there were 11 on the field!). Several close quarter drives kept the ball alive and as the clock went into the red Gibbon had a chance to slam the ball into the stand only for the ball to dribble towards the touchline and nearly be scooped up by a Bedwas winger. Fortunately the ball made it to the touchline and the game was over. Final score 16-12.
Tries: Rob Weston, Jamie Murray
Pens: Gruff Tough (2)
Massiv MOM: Lloyd James (special Mention Tom Caple)
Management MOM: Tom Caple (special Mention the whole squad plus the medical team)