Bargoed welcomed Bedwas to The Park for a Principality Premiership clash, with both sides desperate for a win to climb out of the lower reaches of the table.
Bargoed started strongly and dominated territory and possession through their powerful scrum and effective set piece. Indeed the first try after nine minutes came from great scrum pressure that saw the Bedwas scrum fold and a penalty try was awarded.
Bargoed then took their foot off the gas and when the defence made two crucial errors as they allowed Bedwas to penetrate and from an attack down the right, the Bulls conceded a contact area penalty twenty five metres which was kicked by Joe Scrivens and this allowed the Bridgefield outfit to reduce the lead to 7-3 after thirteen minutes.
Although Bargoed had plenty of possession early on, their failure to retain it and penetrate in attack cost them dearly.
Bargoed conceded a scrum penalty in the Bedwas half who kicked to touch and then attacked in midfield. The ball was moved right and a speculative kick bounced awkwardly and wing Kane Teear-Bourge won the race to touchdown.
Bargoed bounced back though and got their second try shortly after through a driving lineout which saw Adam Powell touchdown for a 14-10 lead.
Bargoed’s defence held firm as Bedwas launched a number of attacks, and just before half time Bargoed repelled another attack, and yellow cards were issued to both captains Rhys Morgan and Nathan Hudd after a skirmish under the home sides posts.
Bedwas started the stronger in the second half, and scored after two minutes when a driving maul saw Gareth Allen rumble over to make it 15-14 to the visitors. They added to this three minutes later as they attacked off a lineout, poor defence allowed Bedwas to breach the Bargoed defensive line, and flanker Jon Armitage was in support and on hand to score. The conversion by Scrivens was successful so incredibly Bedwas now led 22-14.
Bargoed continued to concede cheap penalties which were once again costing them territory and although Joe Scrivens missed the first one, he converted the second to give Bedwas a 25-14 lead with twenty minutes to go.
Bargoed now started to play some of their best rugby and got a penalty try from a scrum to make it 25-21, but poor discipline in their own half again cost them another three points as Scrivens made it 28-21.
Bargoed were pushing for the victory and undoubtedly had Bedwas on the rack. In this period they manufactured a fine try for busy replacement prop John Lavender to go over wide out to bring it back to 28-26.
Bargoed were now well on top and decided to forego a kick at goal to kick to the corner, but when the ball was held up in a driving maul, they conceded another scrum penalty and Bedwas relieved the pressure. Back came Bargoed and they went so close, retaining possession well, until they were turned over five yards out. This was the fatal blow as Bedwas cleared their lines and the Referee called time with Bargoed once again getting so close.
Bargoed will look back at this game as one that got away, as for the majority of the game they were the better side. The scrum was excellent at times but also a source of concern with the number of penalties conceded. The contact area was another area of frustration with too much inaccuracy resulting in the ball being lost in contact. This enabled Bedwas to relieve pressure and get easy outs when they should have been under the cosh.
Bargoed picked up two points but it should have been five, and the frustrating thing is that they did play some good rugby early on, and then late on when they were chasing the game.
The players and coaches will reflect on a missed opportunity, and they’ll knuckle down and work hard this week to find that consistency, composure and cutting edge that is so critical in the Premiership.
Bargoed entertain a rejuvenated Llanelli next week at Bargoed Park, and if previous games are anything to go by this in should be an entertaining encounter. Come along and support the boys!!