A stirring second half comeback saw Bargoed get within a score of an unlikely win after a disastrous opening half hour in which they went 17-0 down.
The first score came from a poor clearing kick which gave the advantage to Bedwas. Bargoed were penalised and former Bulls’ outside half Steffan Jones, playing opposite brother Callum put the ball into the home twenty two. Clean line out ball saw the ball cross the backs and it was Steffan Jones who looped around to score and convert after just eight minutes.
Bedwas continued to put a stranglehold on the game and a box kick out of defence by the Bulls was returned with interest and Bargoed failed to deal with it. In the confusion the ball was hacked on and lock James Richards was the first to react touching down under the posts – Steffan Jones again converting to make it 0-14 on 20 minutes.
Referee Simon Mills didn’t endear himself to the home supporters with a penalty decision on the half hour for a clear out on the fringes of a ruck. The crowd had no problem with the penalty but officials failed to deal with a punch that followed. Nevertheless, Jones slotted the kick and Bedwas looked like a cricket score might follow.
Bargoed have shown signs of resilience before however and two minutes later a well controlled catch and drive from a line out deep in the Bedwas twenty two ended with young prop Scott Evans coming up with the ball. Matthew Lewis converted and Bargoed went into the half time break just ten points adrift.
A different home side came out after the break. Bargoed retained the ball, played with patience and width and got wingers David Evans and Ashley Norton into the game. The scrum which had been under pressure in the first half improved and confidence oozed back into the players with Ieuan Jones and Louis Blacker punching holes in the Bedwas midfield.
Bargoed narrowed the gap to just three points on 55 minutes. Bedwas centre Mike Callow was yellow carded for a high tackle and Bargoed took full advantage. Callum Jones took a quick tap penalty and fed Blacker for the second row to drive through the gap where the centre would have been defending. Matthew Lewis converted and 14-17 was looking a great deal better for the Bulls.
However, the rest of the final quarter became a kicking dual with Steffan Jones responding quickly after the restart and again on 68 minutes to stretch the lead to 14-23.
Bargoed hammered away and deservedly got back to 20-23 with a further two penalties from the boot of Mathew Lewis before Bedwas reasserted some pressure and tried to kill the game off by pushing hard for a third try by going to the corner instead of the posts from successive penalties, but in the end they opted for a kick to goal to end the game 20-26 with Bargoed replacement second row Lewis Johnson getting a yellow card in the 79th minute. Steffan Jones finished with a 21 point haul.
The Bulls had to be content with a losing bonus point but the coaches will have been delighted with a second half performance which gives the players some momentum going into the next Saturday’s away game, another early kick off at Sardis Road.