It was good to see some rugby taking place this week, with both the 1st XV and Youth in action. We also look forward to the arrival of our friends from north of the border later this week as Hawick Quins play Bargoed on Friday 13 March.
Bargoed travelled west to take on Neath at the Gnoll in a midweek National Championship game under lights.
Bargoed knew that this would be a difficult encounter with Neath moving up the league recently after a good win against Bedwas. The Bulls hadn’t played since the 25 January and in recent seasons the Gnoll has proved to be a difficult place to get points.
Calum Jones pulled out late on, and his brother Steffan moved to full back and Darren Humphries took his place on the bench. It was also good to see Daf Carter back in Bargoed colours after spells at Nelson and Pontypridd.
The visitors started well and scored after 3 minutes when Josh Prosser made a break on half way and offloaded, with good work by Steff Jones, Adam Powell went over with Jones converting for an early 7-0 lead.
Neath fought back immediately and scored on 10 minutes with Toni Antonazzi going over after earlier scrum pressure on Bargoed. Luke Griffiths converted to square it up at 7-7.
Neath were now on the ascendancy and Bargoed’s poor discipline was becoming more concerning as Luke Griffiths kicked two more penalties to lead 13-7 with 30 minutes gone.
Bargoed then had a scoring chance as they kicked to the corner and drove the line-out, but Neath managed to defend it and were awarded a scrum as the ball was held up in the maul.
Bargoed applied great pressure at the scrum, and as Neath looked to kick clear Captain Grant Rogers made a tackle in the in goal area and pounced on the loose ball for Bargoed’s second try. Steff Jones converted to take a 14-13 lead in at half time.
The second half started with Neath conceding a couple of early penalties and Bargoed opted to kick to the corner and drive the line-out for Ronnie Kynes to score, Jones again converted to increase the lead to 20-13.
Neath closed the gap as Luke Griffiths kicked another penalty to make it 20-16.
Bargoed made some changes and got the bonus point try when replacement Rhys Buckley touched down from another driving line-out, Jones again converted.
They increased the lead to 35-15 on 70 minutes when replacement prop John Lavender carried well and bust through a tiring Neath defence to score from 20 yards out, Jones converted.
Neath weren’t lying down though as they continued to work hard and they were rewarded when they got a converted try from an interception after 73 minutes.
Bargoed had the last say though, as they scored a sixth try again from a driving line-out with Ali Gardner-Key touching down for a final score of 40-23.
Bargoed will be pleased with the second half but they did look rusty in both attack and defence particularly in the first half. However they tightened up in the second half and got the result, to keep the pressure on Pontypool at the top of the Championship.
They now face Ystalyfera away on the 21 March with a packed fixture list over the next couple of months as they still have ten league fixtures to play and a Mid District Cup semi final against local rivals Penallta.
The Youth managed to play on Saturday, again after a long lay off, as they faced Penallta and came away with a 14-8 victory.
They scored two tries with a penalty try after constant pressure from the forwards with their pick and go attack from close range. The second try was scored by Jake Rees, and the points came from Rhys Thomas.
There were good performances from hooker Kelly Coulson who carried hard and tackled well, and the Bargoed back row were excellent with Liam lamb boy Jones standing out.
Bargoed played well against a quality Penallta side whose backs were really dangerous all game. It was also good to see Josh Parry continuing his return after injury with an excellent man of the match performance from the hard working Prop.
This week Bargoed RFC entertain old friends Hawick Quins on Friday 13 March with a 4.30 pm kick off scheduled at Bargoed Park.