Rugby Union: Samuel's wisdom starts to pay off
Bridgend 24 Cardiff 24
Sunday 12 September 1999
Time appeared to be running out, as were the pounds and the bank manager's patience, until Leighton Samuel, a local entrepreneur, stepped in to write off the club's sizeable overdraft and, more importantly, devise and implement a strategy for the future, underpinned by his financial support.
Brewery Field seemed bereft of life or hope a year ago, now it is in remission and determined to fight for a place in rugby's elite.
One thing has not changed, though, Bridgend's love of beating the capital city club, or, put another way, their hatred for Cardiff. Primarily this is attributed to the regular player drain up the M4 and, of the current Cardiff squad, Robert Howley, Gareth Thomas, Owain Williams and Kevin Ellis have left for the Arms Park.
All meetings of these clubs are fiercely contested affairs, pre- or post- professional rugby, and this match proved to be highly competitive, but sadly lacking in quality.
Despite the absence of many of Wales's World Cup stars, over 5,000 fans hungry for rugby in this new, more confident period for the game in Wales, turned up.
Liam Botham struck first for Cardiff with a 40-metre penalty before the visitors lost possession whilst on the attack and Bridgend's scrum-half Steve Wake slipped away to send the right wing Owain Thomas over for a sparkling try. Adrian Durston converted and Botham and Durston then exchanged penalties.
Cardiff, despite a number of new faces, looked organised and efficient at the set piece, if a little pedestrian and predictable with the ball in hand. Bridgend were more creative and incisive, but suffered from lack of any quality possession.
The old warhorse Richard Webster, a summer recruit for Bridgend, was sin-binned at the end of the first half, a punishment for either verbal abuse or over-vigorous play - or maybe both. Cardiff however failed to take advantage and Bridgend maintained their 10-6 interval lead.
Bridgend were struggling to win their own line-out, threw in crookedly, and the resultant scrum, together with Jamie Ringer's intelligent link work, allowed the No 8 Owain Williams to amble over unopposed. Botham converted.
Cardiff's lead was short lived as Bridgend's replacement wing Daniel Jones supported some incisive back play to cross at the posts for Durston to convert.
It took an hour, but it was worth waiting for. Welsh rugby's shining starlet, the Cardiff full-back Rhys Williams, ignited a rather drab affair with a searing 50-metre blindside break from a scrum to send Simon Hill racing over for a try. Pure class, pure genius.
Cardiff will be worth watching this year, provided Williams is in the team, and whilst rugby World Cup 1999 is premature for him, he should be a shining light in 2003.
Top quality it may not have been, but excitement raged to the end as the replacement Steve Pearce claimed a lastgasp try for Bridgend and Durston succeeded with the wide-angle conversion. Botham had an opportunity to win the game for Cardiff, but his last kick of the match sailed wide.
Bridgend: A Durston; O Thomas, G Jones, J Devereux, D Decaux (D Jones); P Williams, S Wake; L Manning, C Ferris, R Jasper, S Ford (capt), P Clapham (S Pearce), R Webster, M Molitiua, A Williams.
Cardiff: R Williams; L Botham, G Esterhuizen, M Wintle, S Hill; M Rayer (capt), K Ellis; F John, D Geraghty, G Powell, S Williams, B Barrett (E Lewis), G Kacala, O Williams, J Ringer.
Referee: N Whitehouse
Latest in Sport
Arsenal transfer news: Atletico Madrid closing in on Santi Cazorla - reports
Arturo Vidal: Manchester United bid £39m for Juventus midfielder
Arsenal transfer news: Arsene Wenger set to cancel moves for Sami Khedira and Morgan Schneiderlin in favour of Jack Wilshere - reports
Manchester United: Five things we've learned so far about Louis van Gaal, including his ability to accommodate Juan Mata, Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney
LA Galaxy vs Manchester United: 'Beautiful goals and beautiful attacks' - Louis van Gaal revels in 'fantastic' 7-0 start
- 1 Fifty Shades of Grey trailer: First look at Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 50 books for students to read this summer: From Ernest Hemingway to Gillian Flynn
- 4 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
£21804 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a dynamic En...
competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Experienced Lead SAP Data Manager Requir...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...
£18000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: Huxley Associates are looking...