Bridgend Match Report

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Ebbw gain a last gasp win

By Alex Kinsella-Evans

On a day when the weather could not decide what to do, a Kieran Meek drop goal with the final kick of the game wins the game for the Steelmen and moved them back up to fourth in the table. 

From the kick-off the home side knocked the ball on. With the away side having a scrum in the Ebbw Vale half, the ball made its way to full back Ed Howley, who went over for the first try of the game in the opening minutes. Outside half Paul Short added the two points.  

The Steelmen got back into the game after being awarded a penalty. Prolific outside half Evan Lloyd kicking the three points. 

Bridgend’s second try of the game came when the forwards made inroads into the Ebbw twenty-two. After some quick passes within the backs, the ball made its way to full back Howley, who drew the home side’s winger in and put former Steelman Mike Powell in for the try within the first fifteen minutes. Fly half Short again added the extras. 

The home side quickly hit back, where from a lineout in the Bridgend twenty-two, the ball made its way to Ebbw Vale flanker Joe Thomas, who scored his sides first try of the game. Fly half Lloyd successfully kicked the conversation.

Within 10 minutes the Steelmen scored their second try of the game. The Ebbw Vale forwards secured the lineout and a pass out by scrum half Jon Evans eventually made its way to centre Dom Franchi, who cleverly drew the defence and passed to prop Luke Garrett, who showed a turn of pace to score the try from just inside the Bridgend twenty-two. Lloyd again added the two points.

Ebbw nearly scored a further try when some quick and clever ball through the hands of the backs led to winger Morgan Richards going over in the corner. However, the assistant referee had raised his flag for a foot in touch.

With the referee penalising Ebbw Vale, the away side number ten Short added a further six points to the scoreboard going into the final minutes of the first half. 

On the stroke of half time, the referee awarded the home side a penalty inside the Bridgend half. Flyhalf Lloyd successfully kicked the conversation to make it all square at half time.

Half Time: Ebbw Vale 20-20 Bridgend

The away side came out for the second half, much like the first half and took the play to Ebbw Vale. On the fifty first minute, Ebbw coach Jason Strange made a change and brought on prop Harry Drane, who replaced Adam Court. 

With the away side on top inside the Ebbw twenty-two, a pass out to the wing was intercepted by speedster Morgan Richards, who ran the length of the field to score the Steelmen’s third try of the game. Lloyd added the two points. 

The home side made a host of changes over the following 15 minutes when Lewis Young replaced the impressive Joe Thomas, Matthew Flanagan came onto the wing for try scorer Morgan Richards, Andrew Mann replaced the hard working Curtis Gregory, Morgan Thomas replaced the tough tackling Chad Thomas and Charley Kearns came on for try scorer Luke Garrett. 

Bridgend scored their third try of the game when from continuous penalties and pressure inside the Steelmen’s twenty-two, the ball was passed out wide to winger Caine Woolerton to touch down in the corner. Replacement outside half Luke Price kicked the tricky conversation.  

Ebbw made their last change of the game when hooker Alex Watkins replaced captain Rhys Francis inside the last ten minutes. 

After a game of kick tennis, replacement winger Matthew Flanagan received the ball in his side’s twenty-two, only to be tackled high by the away side’s Reuben Tucker. Referee Jones, went straight to his pocket to show the Bridgend player a yellow card. 

Inside the last five minutes of the game, a nasty looking injury to Bridgend’s Hemi Barnes led to a lengthy pause in play. Credit to both medical teams and Dr Thomas who were on the scene immediately. 

With the game drawing to a close, the Steelmen forwards took the play to the opposition and made in roads into the away sides twenty-two. With the forwards going through the phases, the ball was passed to full back Kieran Meek in front of the posts, who kicked the drop goal to win the game in dramatic fashion for the home side. 

Full Time: Ebbw Vale 30-27 Bridgend

Spirit of Wales distillery MOTM: Gethin Williams      

After the game we spoke to team manager Dan Haymond. Reflecting on the game Dan thought it was a scrappy affair but believed Ebbw scored some nice tries in the first half. However, he believed the team were sloppy, gave a lot of ball away with individual errors and discipline cost the side. Dan was happy with the improvement made in the second half. He finished with wishing Hemi Barnes a speedy recovery after an unfortunate injury which slowed the game down due to the length of break. He praised the team for winning the game at the end with a drop goal. 

We also spoke with scrum half Jon Evans. Jon was happy to have another win at home, especially as it was won in the last minute, which is something the team will never turn down. He acknowledged Ebbw still have room for improvement and the squad were aware it was not the best performance, however, it had been a similar picture all season. He continued by saying the team were not playing well but at home we`re edging out the victory`s which is moving Ebbw up the table. Jon ended saying there were some aspects of the game to work on but overall was happy with the way the game had gone.  

David “Dai” Harris

The club were deeply saddened to hear of the sad death of former open side Dai Harris at the age of 57

Dai joined the club in 1990 from Dowlais RFC and quickly became a firm favourite with the Ebbw Addicts on and off the field, He was a typical all action open side, not the biggest in stature but a player who played well above his weight. He was the true open side tradition, a proper nuisance but aded skill and game understanding made him a formidable opponent for much bigger forwards and every outside half that ever faced him. Highly combative, tremendously fit, Dai had the heart of a lion and did everything he could to get a win for the team, always with a cheeky grin on his face

As with many uncompromising rugby players, off the field he was an affable fun man, a true gentleman, Dai had time for anyone and loved to mix with supporters and fellow players after the game

He was a key part of the team under Captain Andrew Oliver who got the club promoted to the Premiership, ensuring Ebbw Vale were perfectly positioned to take advantage of the professional era.

Dai returned to his beloved Dowlais, played into his late 30’s and also coached the club. One of this proudest moment was to play first team rugby with his son, with his dad, David Snr, Chairman of Dowlais, allegedly sneaking on for the final few minutes

All our thoughts are with Dai’s family and friends at this sad

Rest in Peace Dai

The Ebbw Vale side to take on Bridgend in the Indigo Welsh premiership this Saturday at the Ciner Glass Community Stadium, 2:30pm kick off is as follows.

Let’s have a big home crowd to shout on the Steelmen and bring along your Ebbw flag’s to wave on the Bank! 

If you can’t make the game then you can follow updates on our social media channels Twitter @evrfc and Facebook for updates #Steelmen

1 Luke Garrett 

2 Rhys Francis (c)

3 Adam Court

4 Dylan Bartlett

5 Curtis Gregory 

6 Gethin Williams

7 Joe Thomas 

8 Chad Thomas 

9 Jonathan Evans 

10 Evan Lloyd

11 Morgan Richards

12 Dom Franchi

13 Ethan Phillips 

14 Carrick McDonough 

15 Kieran Meek


16 Alex Watkins

17 Charley Kearns

18 Harry Drane

19 Morgan Thomas

20 Andrew Mann

21 Haydn Simons

22 Matthew Flanagan 

23 Lewis Young

Ebbw Vale vs Bridgend preview

By Alex Kinsella-Evans

Before training we caught up with scrum coach Aaron Coundley. 

Aaron advised training over the past two weeks had been intense. After the Llandovery loss, there were no hiding places come Tuesday and Thursday for the players and all of the squad stepped up. 

Every week Ebbw go out aiming for a win and that will be no different this week. No matter who the opposition is, the goal is always the same. 

Finally, Aaron added Bridgend are on a good run at present and as a result expect them to be organised. Therefore, it is up to the squad to do something about it. 

Pic Credit @Chris Pitt

Ebbw Vale RFC is delighted to announce the signing of former Wales U18’s scrum half Dylan Davies who joins us from Bridgend Ravens

On joining Ebbw Vale Dylan said;  I am excited to be joining the steelmen and can’t wait to be part of this prestigious club and look forward to improving my game with such a great coaching team at the club.  pastedGraphic.png

Previous Clubs: Dragons Academy, Wales U18’s, Cardiff Met, Newbridge and Bridgend Ravens

International Honours: Wales U18’s

Height: 6ft 

Weight: 78kg

Position: Scrum Half 

Twitter @dylandavies321


Steelmen earn bonus point victory 

By Alex Kinsella-Evans

Fifth place Ebbw Vale played bottom of the table Llanelli on a damp night at the Ciner Glass Community Stadium.  A bonus point win took the steelmen to third in the table.

A youthful Llanelli side took the lead from a penalty within the first three minutes through outside half Gareth George.

The first try of the game came in the eighth minute from the Steelmen’s number nine Jon Evans. With the home side forwards starting to get on top, from a driving maul the scrum half superbly darted over the line from five metres out to touch down. Ebbw outside half Kieran Meek added the two points. 

With both sides showing plenty of endeavour, the weather conditions were making it difficult to keep hold of the ball until on the twenty fifth minute the home sides number eight Chad Thomas made a good run and throwed a dummy pass to score in the corner for his sides second try of the game. Meek superbly slotted the conversation.  

The away side were hampered further when impressive flanker and captain Iwan Shenton unfortunately had to leave the field during the half due to an injury.

The away side came back into the game and put some good phases together. However, the Steelmen’s defence held firm and no further points were added to the scoreboard in the first half.

Half Time Ebbw Vale 14 – Llanelli 3

The Ebbw forwards came out for the second half clearly fired up. After some excellent forward play, the ball made its way to in form outside centre Ethan Phillips, who ran a great line to score under the posts. Meek again successful with the conversation.

Inside the first fifteen minutes of the second half, the home scored their fourth try. Some quick precise passing from the backs led to the ball making it ways to winger Liam Lloyd, who on his debut went over in the corner to collect his teams bonus point. Meek added the two points. 

With the home side pulling further away, coach Jason Strange started to ring the changes by bringing on Lewis Kinsella and Dave Whiting in the front row, Andrew Mann in the back row and Evan Lloyd and Matthew Flanagan at half backs. The impressive Kieran Meek being replaced on the fifty ninth minute.

Within two minutes of coming off the bench, replacement flyhalf and the leagues top point scorer Evan Lloyd run a lovely line to go over the try line unopposed to score his side’s fifth try of the game. Lloyd converting his own try.

After the home side cleared their bench by bringing on Alex Watkins at hooker, Morgan Thomas in the second row and Haydn Simons at full back, Llanelli second row Chris Long received a yellow card due to continuous offenses. However, the Steelmen were not able to add any further points onto the scoreboard. 

Credit must go to Llanelli, who with a youthful squad were committed, never gave up and kept the scoreline from increasing further.

Full Time: Ebbw Vale 35-3 Llanelli

Spirit of Wales man of the match: Kieran Meek

We spoke to Llanelli captain Iwen Shenton. Iwen was disappointed with the result and was expecting a tough challenge from Ebbw Vale, which he felt they got. He could not fault his teams’ effort and felt they left everything out on the pitch but was not good enough on the night. They experienced a tough battle up front with a young pack and thought it was a good test for his team. One which fell short. 


We caught up with Dom Franchi. Dom was happy to win the game after two defeats. He felt it was Important not to slip up and do their best to score as many points as possible to put the team in a good position to get into the top four. Talking about making one hundred appearances for the club, Dom was happy having been at the club for seven to eight years. He felt it had been a long time coming having had some injury`s but was happy to have represented the club so many times. 

Finally, we spoke with head coach Jason Strange. Jason was really pleased with the five points and some individual performances, especially Ethan Phillips and Curtis Gregory who played his best performance for the club. Jason was pleased with the positive performance and collecting the bonus point win. 

The Ebbw Vale side to take on Llanelli RFC in the Indigo Welsh premiership tomorrow evening at the Ciner Glass Community Stadium, 7:30pm kick off is as follows. Liam Lloyd comes onto the wing on loan from Treorchy RFC.

Let’s have a big home crowd to shout on the Steelmen and bring along your Ebbw flag’s to wave on the Bank! 

If you can’t make the game then you can follow updates on our social media channels Twitter @evrfc and Facebook for updates #Steelmen

1 Luke Garrett 

2 Rhys Francis (c)

3 Harry Drane 

4 Dylan Bartlett

5 Curtis Gregory 

6 Gethin Williams

7 Joe Thomas 

8 Chad Thomas 

9 Jonathan Evans 

10 Kieran Meek 

11 Liam Lloyd 

12 Dom Franchi

13 Ethan Phillips 

14 Amir Jiwa Walji

15 Morgan Richards 


16 Alex Watkins

17 Lewis Kinsella

18 Dave Whiting

19 Andrew Mann

20 Ryan Jenkins

21 Matthew Flanagan 

22 Evan Lloyd 

23 Haydn Simons 

Ebbw Vale vs Llanelli preview

By Alex Kinsella-Evans

We spoke to Ebbw’s assistant backs coach Steve Lang before Friday night`s game.

Steve is expecting a reaction after last weekend’s game against Llandovery. Everybody associated with the club were disappointed in how the game played out as Ebbw were not a true reflection of themselves as a team. He is looking for a performance against Llanelli, taking one game at a time as history has shown this season that any team can beat anyone. The squad will take Llanelli at their merit and aim to be the best version of Ebbw Vale they can be, come Friday night.

During the first half of the game at the start of the year at Parc Y Scarlets, Steve believes Llanelli caused Ebbw problems. They have a lot of young talent in the squad, which may result in some of the players stepping up to the Scarlets regional team, as well as the Wales U20s team. Steve paid tribute to them and the pathway they provide but stated Ebbw have done their due diligence on Llanelli as a team. After two losses the squad are going to concentrate on themselves and hope to give the fans something to cheer about.

Looking at the threats Llanelli pose, Steve believes they are a young squad that like to pass the ball around, have players that put in good individual performances last time the teamsmet, especially Eddie James who caused some problems and captain Iwen Shenton. However, Llanelli have threats all over the field that will have to be managed going into the game.

Considering the improvements that could be made, Steve advised the squad are looking to improve all facets of theirgame, always be the best version of Ebbw Vale and be a true reflection of what the club is about, the club history and the community.

The squad are continuing to work hard, especially on their physicality and will aim to bring their key deliverables to the game Friday night to ensure the Steelmen get a performance and result.

Finally, Steve said when considering the transition over the summer, especially the number of players that left and amount of new faces that came in, the bond amongst the squad is strong and excellent. A significant number of players havebeen used so far, some not being recognisable on first glance at Premiership level, having signed for the club from lower leagues and local clubs. However, Steve was pleased with their contribution to date and believes there is a bright future at the club.



Pre-Match Hospitality, Bridgend Ravens

Join us on Saturday, February 18th for our fixture against Bridgend as we host a pre match lunch for sponsors and supporters. Join us pre-match and listen to guest speakers in former Ebbw Vale winger Alun Harries and Simon Clarke from the speakeasy club.

The cost to attend is just £15 per person or £10 with a season ticket and to book your place contact Gareth Howells on or mobile 07974873683