Wanderers succumb to second half onslaught
“A difficult pill to swallow at full time” commented head Coach Martyn Fowler “In the cold light of day though there were so many positives to take away from the game that we must not beat ourselves up.”
Manager Mark Gould “Championship rugby is tough there are no hiding places and if you let your game slip sides will take full advantage. All in all though with so many debutants we can reflect well on the performance”
“First half was so full of energy but we lost our way in the second half against a very strong and controlled second 40 from Bedwas.” added backs coach Cai Milsom.
“It was awfully cruel of Bedwas to lock the changing room door at half time so we couldn’t get back on the field” added Tony Murphy.
From the outset the Wanderers made clear their intention to play with a high tempo. Pressurising the Bedwas defence they gained an early penalty only to see the shot go wide. With Aled Evans pinning the home side back the visitors sent the ball wide on every occasion but the Bedwas line held. After 12 minutes the home side mounted their first serious attack but this time the Wanderers defence when called upon held firm. Bedwas were certainly struggling to find their rhythm as the Wanderers looked far more assured with ball in hand and eventually the deadlock was broken. A move of several phases saw Rob Lewis pop up in midfield and he showed some silky skills to create space for fellow members of the front five on a trundle. Jac Williams fed Alex Washbourne who sent debutant Osian Phillips over in the corner from the first try. Evans added the conversion 0-7. Bedwas responded well a neat 50-22 kick established them field position and they piled on the pressure. The Wanderers conceded a penalty and from a tap penalty the home side crashed over to level it up, after the conversion, at 7-7. With new Wanderers centre partnership of Cameron Gibbon and Morgan Williams showing up well the visitors once again went on the attack. With Evans kicking penalties deep into home side territory the Wanderers produced a catch and drive which saw a second debutant Jac Williams plunge over for the second try 7-12. At this point in the game it was all about the visitors, helped by a decent breeze on their backs and as the half entered its final 10 minutes they added to their score. Off the top lineout ball saw the defence spread wide expecting another wide attack from the visitors but scrum half Steffan Davies had other ideas. A neat dummy created the gap and he scythed through to score under the posts. Evans added the extras 7-19. With the half drawing to a close the Wanderers gained a first half bonus point. A kick deep out wide bounced kindly for the chasing attackers and Ioan Cooper controlled and gathered the ball to crash over for the 4th try. Evans added another two and the sides went into the break at 7-26.
The start of the second half was likely to be crucial in the outcome of the game. Bedwas had clearly galvanised their team in the break and they were straight onto the attack. The Wanderers appeared to have weathered the early storm but the home side confidence was obviously increasing. Bedwas used possession to pin the Wanderers back and another attempt at a driving lineout finally paid dividend as they crossed for their second try 14-26. There was a brief rally from the visitors and a chance to extend their lead saw Evans push a penalty wide and the Bedwas assault began again in earnest. Sensing they were very much back in the game the pressure came back on in spades. The Wanderers started to look a little lost in defence. Decision making became a little frayed in the face of the wave after wave of attacks. Another lineout drive set up the third Bedwas try with the added two points making it game on at 21-26. Now it was the home side that was dominating proceedings. As the game had certainly turned on its head it was if the sides had swapped shirts at half time. The home side scored their bonus point try after a move of several phases and they were in front at 28-26 with time running out. A rare foray into the Bedwas 22 for the Wanderers came to nothing and that was to be the last moment for the visitors faithful to cheer. Nailing the coffin shut with three penalties the home side ran out deserved winners 37-26.
Tries: Osian Phillips, Steffan Davies, Jac Williams, Ioan Cooper
Cons: Aled Evans (3)
Management MOM: Steffan Davies
Massiv MOM: Osian Phillips