17 January 2023 / Club News

Bargoed Briefs

The 1st XV were the only side in action on Saturday as the weather again intervened to prevent the Warriors and Youth playing.
The 1st XV welcomed Neath to a cold and crisp Bargoed Park, with third versus second in the National Championship.
Neath were led out by hooker Sion Crocker who was making his 200th appearance and received a great reception from the large crowd.
Bargoed had a couple of early opportunities but failed to convert pressure into points. This allowed Neath to get out of jail, and build their own attack as they started to dominate territory and possession.
The pressure told when Bargoed Captain Kieron Brown was  yellow carded at a ruck close to the hosts line. Neath took full advantage, they kicked to the corner and drove the line-out to get the opening try scored by Sion Crocker.
Bargoed continued to work hard, particularly in defence, and good work in the contact area saw them start to get more possession and edged their way upfield to get a position in the Neath 22.
Bargoed remained patient, recycling effectively and the ball was moved wide to Ashley Norton to score in the corner after good work by Matthew Lewis after 29 minutes. Steffan Jones converted and Bargoed were 7-5 up and returned to having 15 players on the field.
Bargoed were now in the ascendancy and again managed to get an attacking opportunity in the Neath 22 just before half time, but a lack of accuracy at the line-out let Neath off the hook.
The second half saw the Welsh All Blacks take the initiative early on and this resulted in a try from lock Matthew Davies after 45 minutes, converted by Steffan Williams to make it 12-7.
Bargoed were now under real pressure and on 50 minutes Dai Evans received a yellow card and Steffan Williams converted the penalty to increase the lead to 15-7.
Bargoed seemed to be galvanised by this though, and started to keep ball in hand to pressure the Welsh All Blacks defence. However good defence by Neath and an astute kicking game pinned them back.
Bargoed responded with a run from deep from the impressive Ashley Norton on his first game back this season.
He kicked ahead and with a great chase by Norton, Rhys Thomas and hard working Wade Langley, it was the latter that pounced on the loose ball to score. Jones converted superbly to make it 15-14 to the visitors with 64 minutes gone.
Neath worked their way back into the Bargoed half and no. 8 Dai Griggs cleverly picked up at a ruck to make a clean break. Bargoed defended it well but then gave a penalty away and Steffan Williams took advantage of this to increase the lead to 18-14 with 8 minutes left.
Bargoed weren’t finished though and valiantly fought back by again stressing the Neath defence with ball in hand. Neath managed to turn the ball over but a loose kick saw Bargoed’s Duane  Dyer make good yardage to take Bargoed back into the visitors 22.
The hosts remained patient and recycled well and good work from Steffan Jones and Rhys Thomas saw wing Dylan Williams score in the corner. Steffan Jones converted superbly from the touch line to make it 21-18 with 4 minutes to go.
Neath worked extremely hard to get the ball and attack, looking for the winning score. However Bargoed’s defence was excellent with back rowers Keaton Davies and Lewis Johnson leading the charge with multiple tackles.
Bargoed’s defence did not yield and the hard work of all the players particularly in defence saw Bargoed home in an exciting and good quality encounter that entertained the large crowd at a chilly Bargoed Park.
The Coaching Staff will be pleased with the effort and application of the players in difficult conditions and under real pressure to get the result, as they stay in the hunt to defend the title that they won last season.

There is a long way to go and Bargoed will now hope for a run of games with a number already postponed due to the poor weather conditions in recent weeks.

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