Rugby Union: Samuel's wisdom starts to pay off

Bridgend 24 Cardiff 24

NOWHERE HAS felt the cold wind of financial reality in rugby recently more than Brewery Field. A lack of real financial clout meant Bridgend, a great nursery for Welsh rugby talent, had to hang on, surviving by its fingertips, or by the acquiescence of the bank manager.

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

Voices
Stephanie first after her public appearance as a woman at Rad Fest 2014
voices

Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol
art'Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' followed hoax reports artist had been arrested and unveiled
Voices
Oscar Pistorius is led out of court in Pretoria. Pistorius received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide by judge Thokozile Masipais for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
voicesThokozile Masipa simply had no choice but to jail the athlete
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Russell Brand at an anti-austerity march in June
peopleActor and comedian says 'there's no point doing it if you're not'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004
music

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

Life and Style
The Tinder app has around 10 million users worldwide

techThe original free dating app will remain the same, developers say

News
news

Endangered species spotted in a creek in the Qinling mountains

News
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
news
News
peopleJust weeks after he created dress for Alamuddin-Clooney wedding
Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Life and Style
tech

Company says data is only collected under 'temporary' identities that are discarded every 15 minutes

Life and Style
health

Some experiencing postnatal depression don't realise there is a problem. What can be done?

Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Pensions Administrator

£23000 - £26000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: I am currently recruiting level 3 n...

Are you a Teacher interested in Special Needs?

£110 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Are you a qualified Teacher w...

**ESOL**

£60 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Preston: The Job:* The Tutor will prepar...

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album