Ebbw do the Double Over Ponty
Jason Strange’s team put in a terrific last twenty minutes to make the unlikeliest comeback possible against a fully committed Pontypridd team.
The away side made a fast start. From a strong rolling maul, co club captain Joe Franchi touched down inside the first ten minutes to score the games first try. The league’s top points scorer Evan Lloyd was unable to add the extra’s.
Ponty hit back straight away. A miss-pass by the hosts number ten Ben Burnell inside the Steelmen’s twenty-two saw winger McCauley Rowley go over the line to score the home side’s first try of the afternoon. Full Back Josh Phillips added the two points to put his side into the lead.
Pontypridd extended their lead further when from a grubber kick in the centre of the field, an awkward bounce of the ball, saw the covering defence beaten. Home winger and ex Ebbw player Liam Lloyd collected the ball to touch down unopposed. Phillips successfully kicked the conversion.
The hosts full back Phillips extended his team’s lead to fifteen points by kicking two penalties within minutes of each other.
Against the run of play, the visitors started to apply pressure. Despite running good angles and lines, the away side were unable to score any further points in the first half due to a solid Pontypridd defence holding firm.
Half Time: Pontypridd RFC 20 Ebbw Vale RFC 5
The second half started like the first half ended, with the away side spending time in Ponty’s twenty-two. Again, good defence and turnovers of the ball resulted in the home side ensuring no further points were initially scored.
Ebbw Vale coach Strange, started to ring the changes. Scrum half Rory Harries was replaced by Jon Evans, Prop Morgan Davies came on for Luke Garrett and Kobi Rees replaced Lewis Young.
The home side extended their lead to twenty points within minutes. A kick through from the halfway line saw the ball evade the Steelmen’s defence. Pontypridd winger McCauley collected the ball, drew the last man and sent centre Ryan Wilkins over to score the hosts third try of the game. However, on this occasion Phillips missed the conversion.
With the away side having nothing to lose, the forwards started to take the game to their opponents. Despite being inside the home side’s twenty-two, experienced scrum half Jon Evans saw the space out wide and threw a pass to winger Carrick McDonough. With plenty still to do the winger side stepped his opponent and sped over the line to score Ebbw’s second try of the game. Fly half Lloyd successfully added the two points.
Further changes to the Ebbw Vale side saw hooker Joe Franchi replaced by Ieuan Morris, Prop Harry Drane came off for Owen Hatherill, Ewan McIntyre came on for Owen Conquer and the final substitution saw centre Dom Franchi be replaced by Amir Jiwa-Walji.
With ten minutes left in the game, the visitors turned the game on its head. With an improvement in the lineout, the forwards set up an unstoppable rolling maul, ending with replacement Ieuan Morris touching down. Number ten Lloyd kicked the conversion to bring the game to within a score.
Within five minutes the decisive try was scored. With the grit between their teeth, the Ebbw forwards kept applying pressure and nearly scored themselves. Just short of the tryline and at the ruck, experienced scrum half Jon Evans saw a gap and dived over to score a well taken try and the away side’s forth try of the game. Lloyd added the two points to put the Steelmen one point ahead.
However, the drama had not finished there. From a penalty at the scrum inside the visitor’s half, Pontypridd full back Phillips stepped up with only minutes left. On this occasion the kick went wide and Ebbw saw out the game to come away with what looked like the unlikeliest of wins after sixty minutes.
Credit to both teams, who never gave up and served an excellent final game of the year for both sides.
Full Time: Pontypridd RFC 25 Ebbw Vale RFC 26
Tries: Joe Franchi (1), Carrick McDonough (1), Ieuan Morris (1), Jon Evans (1)
Conversions: Evan Lloyd (3)
After the game we spoke with prop Morgan Davies. Morgan informed the team made a slow start, taking forty minutes to get into the game. Morgan believed the replacements who came off the bench made an impact, and the team picked it up a gear and were delighted to come away with the win.
Ebbw Vale’s next game is Saturday 6th January 2024 at the Ciner Glass Community Stadium against Cardiff, with the kick off at 2:30pm.
Written by Alex Kinsella-Evans
The Steelmen play their final match of 2023, when they visit Sardis Road on Saturday to play Pontypridd RFC with a 2.30pm kick off.
The Steelmen will be looking to complete the double over Pontypridd RFC, after victory over Ponty earlier on in the season at the Ciner Glass Community Stadium, where an explosive start to the match saw Pontypridd take a 15 – 0 lead, before the Steelmen took control of the match to come out victors, 38-21. On the last visit to Sardis Road, a late penalty by Kieran Meek gave the Steelmen a 23-22 victory over Pontypridd.
There are just 2 changes to the Steelmen starting lineup with Rory Harries coming into the team at scrum half and Harry Drane starting in the front row. Joe Franchi continues to captain the team at hooker. Morgan Davies and Kobi Rees come into the match day squad, while Owen Hatherill and Ewan McIntyre will continue to look to make an impact from the bench.
The Ebbw Vale team is
15 Morgan Richards, 14 Carrick Mcdonough 13 Ethan Phillips 12 Dom Franchi 11 Harry Rees-Weldon 10 Evan Lloyd 9 Rory Harries
1 Luke Garrett 2 Joe Franchi (CAPT) 3 Harry Drane 4 Dylan Bartlett 5 Curtis Gregory 6 Owen Conquer 7 Lewis Young 8 Alex Howes
16 Ieuan Morris 17 Morgan Davies 18 Owen Hatherill 19 Jakub Malecki 20 Kobi Rees 21 Jon Evans 22 Amir Jiwa-Walji 23 Ewan McIntyre
The Addicts will be providing transport to the match, leaving the Welfare at 12.30 pm and returning from Sardis Road at 5.30pm.
For those travelling by car, the postcode for Sardis Road is CF37 1HA
Pontypridd Rugby Football Club
Rhondda Cynon Taf
Ebbw Score Seven
The Steelmen served up a Christmas cracker five-star performance to score fifty points for the second Saturday running.
An error by the hosts straight from the kick off saw the visitors take full advantage. With Ebbw unable to keep hold of the ball, some quick play saw the Ironmen score out wide. Merthyr was unsuccessful with the conversion.
Ebbw Vale soon got into their stride. Captain Joe Franchi opted for a scrum after being awarded consecutive penalties inside the away side’s twenty-two. From the second scrum, quick ball out to the backs saw full back Morgan Richards score his first try of the game. Fly half Evan Lloyd added the extra two points.
Further pressure in the scrum inside the away side half saw the hosts win yet another penalty. Outside half Lloyd sent the kick through the uprights to extend his teams lead to five points.
The home side were reduced to fourteen men when winger Carrick McDonough was sent to the sin bin for ten minutes by referee Adam Jones after a chip over the defence saw the Merthyr outside half collect the ball and kick it back downfield. Totally out of character the Ebbw Vale player took out the visiting player late to receive a yellow card.
The Ironmen made their numerical advantage count by exploiting the lack of cover on the wing. Fly half Thompson`s grubber kicked through to touch down unopposed under the posts. The number ten followed up his try with the conversion to put Merthyr two points in front.
With the home side back to fifteen men, the forwards started to apply the pressure. After going through the phases, number eight Alex Howes kept up his good recent run to power over the line to score. Lloyd successfully added the extras.
A well weighted chip over the Ironmen’s defence by the hosts outside half Lloyd, saw winger Harry Rhys-Weldon collect the ball. With a covering defender still to beat, the young winger did well to draw the defender, stay in play and offload to the supporting Ethan Phillips to score out wide. Top points scorer Lloyd superbly sent the conversion through the posts.
Ebbw increased their lead further when from a lineout, quick, crisp passing between the backs saw full back Richards enter the line. With a lot still to do, the full back powered through four separate tackles to touch down for his second try of the game.
Half Time: Ebbw Vale RFC 31 Merthyr RFC 12
The home side came out for the second half determined not to take their foot off the pedal. After being awarded a penalty in the Merthyr twenty-two, captain Franchi opted for another scrum. From the scrum, further quick ball out to the backs saw centre Phillips add to his tally by touching down out wide. Number ten Lloyd was unsuccessful with the conversion.
With the Steelmen dominant, referee Jones showed Merthyr lock Tom Davies a yellow card for ill-discipline. Ebbw took advantage of having an additional man. From the scrum the forwards took the ball forward. After phase after phase and just metres short, scrum half Jonathan Evans threw the ball out wide to centre Phillips. With a man outside him, Phillips darted through the gap to score a hat trick of tries. Sharpshooter Lloyd added the two points.
Ebbw Vale coach Jason Strange started to ring the changes. Prop Adam Court was replaced by Harry Drane and captain Joe Franchi came off for Ieuan Morris.
The home side kept up the pressure. From a scrum after a knock on by the visitors, full back Richards scored his third and Ebbw’s seventh try of the game out wide. An excellent conversion from the touchline by Lloyd brought up the fifty points for the hosts.
Steelmen coach Strange replaced scrum half Jonathan Evans with Rory Harries, fly half Evan Lloyd came off for Keiran Meek, Carrick McDonough was replaced by Amir Jiwa-Walji, Ewan McIntyre replaced Lewis Young and Dylan Barlett came off for Jakub Malecki.
Merthyr did not give up, despite the scoreline. Pressure by the away side nearly resulted in the ball reaching the wing, however Harry Rhys-Weldon got to the ball first and the ball went into touch. Discussing with his officials, referee Jones showed the young winger a yellow card for deliberately knocking the ball into touch and awarded the away side a penalty try.
A nasty looking tackle on home replacement prop Harry Drane brought the game to a standstill. However, with the officials believing the tackle was fair, the away side were awarded a scrum. With the ball in their twenty-two and the hosts down to thirteen men due to an injury to inside centre Dom Franchi, the Ironmen put width on the ball. With a two man advantage, Merthyr took full advantage and scored a well taken length of the pitch try through Ex Ebbw player Josh Lewis. Lewis followed up his try by adding the extra’s.
Ebbw Vale final replacement Owen Hatherall came on for the injured Franchi and a rejig to the backline saw forward McIntyre spend some tine out on the wing.
The final play of the game saw Merthyr score their fifth try out wide after taking a quick penalty. However, they were unable to kick the conversion and referee Jones blew his whistle to bring the game to an end.
Ebbw Vale RFC 50 Merthyr RFC 31
Man of the match: Jonathan Evans
Tries: Morgan Richards (3), Ethan Phillips (3), Alex Howes (1)
Conversions: Evan Lloyd (6)
Penalty: Evan Lloyd (1)
After the game we spoke with Ebbw Vale number eight Alex Howes. Alex thought the team dug in deep against a very strong Merthyr side. Alex and the squad knew it was going to be a hard game but did not let their foot off the throttle from the start. Alex was disappointed the team conceded second half tries, however, he acknowledged this was not helped by a reduction in numbers during the game. Alex finished by advising it was a great win for the club, a lovely celebration for Christmas for everyone involved, and Alex and the squad would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.
Ebbw Vale’s final game of the year is away against Pontypridd at Sardis Road on Saturday 30 December 2023 with kick off at 2:30pm.
Written by Alex Kinsella-Evans
Ebbw Vale RFC vs Merthyr RFC preview
Ebbw Vale RFC face Merthyr RFC in their final home game of the year at the Ciner Glass Community Stadium on Saturday with a 2.30pm kick off.
Ebbw Vale will be looking for an improved performance against the Ironmen following the loss to Merthyr on the opening game of the season in September where a poor first half by the Steelmen led to Merthyr winning the match by 24-17.
Jason Strange has picked a strong squad for the game with Dom Franchi, Jon Evans and Joe Franchi returning to the starting XV. Harry Rees-Weldon and Owen Conquer also return to the starting lineup after representing Wales U20s against Scotland last weekend. On the bench, Owen Hatherill and Ewan McIntyre retain their places following good performances against Carmarthen Quins.
The full Steelmen line-up is:
15 Morgan Richards 14 Carrick Mcdonough 13 Ethan Phillips 12 Dom Franchi 11 Harry Rees-Weldon 10 Evan Lloyd 9 Jon Evans
1 Luke Garrett 2 Joe Franchi (CAPT) 3 Adam Court 4 Dylan Bartlett 5 Curtis Gregory 6 Owen Conquer 7 Lewis Young 8 Alex Howes
16 Ieuan Morris 17 Owen Hatherill 18 Harry Drane 19 Jakub Malecki 20 Ewan McIntyre 21 Rory Harries 22 Kieran Meek 23 Amir Jiwa-Walji
During the week we caught up with co-captain Rhys Francis.
Reviewing the season’s opening game, Rhys commented the team started slowly and gave Merthyr a big advantage going into the second half, which unfortunately the team were unable to claw back.
Looking ahead to Saturday’s game, Rhys said the squad are looking forward to it, especially after the close hard fought opening game of the season against them. He acknowledged the squad has come a long way since then and are looking forward to putting things right in front of the Addicts at the Ciner Glass Community stadium this Saturday. The squad are aware the set piece will be crucial, they will have to start fast, the forwards will need to dominate up front, especially as Merthyr have got a heavy pack and ensure the set piece is functioning correctly, if they want to come away from the game with anything.
Discussing this week’s training, Rhys advised the two areas the squad focused on was the maul and edge defence after conceding four tries in the second half last time out against Carmarthen.
As the match is the last home game before Christmas, it will be the annual Christmas Jumper Day at the Welfare.
Finally, Rhys, squad and management would like to wish a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all the supporters, families and friends.
Ebbw Hit The Fifty-Point Mark
The hosts put in a dominant performance to secure a bonus point victory by scoring 8 tries.
The Steelmen came out of the blocks strongly and soon scored their first points of the game. After being awarded consecutive penalties, captain Rhys Francis opted for a scrum inside the Quins twenty-two. Number eight Alex Howes picked up the ball and went over the try lined unopposed to score his sides first try of the game. Prolific points scorer Evan Lloyd successfully kicked the conversion.
The home side quickly backed the try up with another. From a much-improved lineout the ball made its way to winger Amir Jiwa-Walji. A clean break by the winger saw Jiwa-Walji draw the defender and pass to supporting runner Rory Harries, who charged over the line to touch down. Fly half Lloyd again successfully added the two points.
With the home side on top a scrum to Carmarthen on the halfway line, saw a loose pass go into space. Ebbw Vale speedster Carrick McDonough, back playing on the wing, picked up the ball and showed a clean pair of heels to touch down under the posts. Lloyd again added the extra two points.
The Ebbw Vale scrum was dominant. With the away side putting into the scrum inside their half, the referee awarded the Steelmen a penalty. A kick to the corner by Lloyd saw the hosts have a lineout. From which, the forwards set up a maul which resulted in captain Francis dotting down over the line to score his teams bonus point try. On this occasion fly half Lloyd was unable to add the extra two points.
Half Time: Ebbw Vale RFC 26 Carmarthen Quins 0
The away side came out and started the second half strongly. After some decent defending, home coach Jason Strange replaced hooker Rhys Francis with Ieuan Morris.
Carmarthen scored their first try of the afternoon after good play from a lineout. The two points were added successfully to reduce the deficit.
With the home forwards wrestling the ascendancy back, a further penalty from a scrum inside the visitors twenty-two saw the home side elect for another scrum. A huge push by the pack resulted in scrum half Harries scoring his second try of the game and Ebbw Vale’s fifth of the afternoon. Outside half Lloyd successfully kicked the conversion.
Further changes by the Steelmen’s coach Strange, saw second row Jakub Malecki replace Dylan Baartlett and prop Owen Hatherill come on for Adam Court.
The Quins were soon reduced to fourteen men when the referee awarded replacement Garan Williams a yellow card for ill-discipline. This appeared to spur the away side on and they scored their second try of the game. However, flyhalf Wilson was unable to add the extras.
Jason Strange continued to make changes to the hosts. Prop Harry Drane came on for Luke Garrett, Ewan McIntyre came on for flanker Ben Main, who was making his first start for Ebbw and winger Amir Jiwa-Walji was replaced by Ewan Bowden.
The Steelmen scored their sixth try when number eight Alex Howes went on a trademark barn storming run from around the visitors twenty-two line to touch down out wide. Top points scorer Lloyd successfully kicked the conversion.
Ebbw Vale continued their dominance with Curtis Gregory stretching over the line to score the home side’s seventh try of the afternoon. Lloyd again kicked the conversion.
That was to be the outside half’s last action in the game as Lloyd was replaced by centre Dominic Franchi. Inside centre for the day Keiran Meek switched back to his more familiar role of fly half to accommodate the centre.
With replacements being made, the Steelmen pack kept their strong form going, when from a lineout inside the twenty-two, prop Harry Drane did well to score the hosts eight try of the afternoon and take their tally to over fifty points for the game. Meek successfully added the two points.
Credit to the away side, who never gave up and scored their third and fourth tries late in the game to take home a try scoring bonus point from the afternoon.
Full Time: Ebbw Vale RFC 54 Carmarthen Quins 24
Man of the match: Curtis Gregory
Tries: Alex Howes (2), Rory Harries (2), Rhys Francis (1), Curtis Gregory (1), Harry Drane (1), Carrick McDonough (1)
Conversions: Evan Lloyd (6) Keiran Meek (1)
After the game we spoke with double try scorer and scrumhalf Rory Harries. Rory was pleased with the performance the team put in, the amount of tries scored and to come away with the result. Whilst being happy with his own performance, Rory was quick to acknowledge it was a team collective, and praised the team for putting him in the positions they did, particularly from a dominant scrum.
The Steelmen are next in action on Saturday 23rd December when Merthyr RFC visit the Ciner Glass Community Stadium.
The match will also be Christmas Jumper Day at the Welfare.
The game is the first since the passing of Gareth Howls this week and the club will be holding a minute’s silence before the game to pay respect to the Steelmen legend.
On the field, Jason Strange has made several changes to the starting lineup which sees Morgan Richards return at full back and Ben Main making his first senior start for the Steelmen in the back row. Rory Harris comes into the starting XV at scrum half while Kieran Meek starts at inside centre. Rhys Francis continues as captain of the team.
The bench sees the return of Ewan McIntyre, Owen Hatherill and Ewan Bowden to the match day squad.
Ebbw Vale Team
15 Morgan Richards 14 Carrick Mcdonough 13 Ethan Phillips 12 Kieran Meek 11 Amir Jiwa-Walji 10 Evan Lloyd 9 Rory Harries
1Luke Garrett 2 Rhys Francis (CAPT) 3 Adam Court 4 Dylan Bartlett 5 Curtis Greogory 6 Ben Main 7 Lewis Young 8 Alex Howes
16 Rhys Francis 17 Morgan Davies 18 Owen Hatherill 19 Jakub Malecki 20 Ewan McIntyre 21 Jon Evans 22 Dom Franchi 23 Ewan Bowden
The club would also like to wish Owen Conquer, Harry Rees-Weldon and Kobi Rees the best of luck as they represent Wales U20s against Scotland this weekend.
Ebbw Vale RFC v Carmarthen Quins
Saturday 16th December
Ciner Glass Community Stadium
The Club has lost one of its greatest players.
Gareth Howls has left us after a long illness but he will be remembered with admiration, affection by those who played with him and generations of Ebbw Valians who were privileged to watch him. He played as prop or lock for Ebbw Vale, the Barbarians, the Gwent and British Police, Crawshay’s Welsh and the County teams against the All-Blacks and Springboks.
He was Ebbw Vale Player of the Year in 1975, captain of the club four seasons in the Seventies, played four times for Wales A, was a Wales Reserve and worthy of a full cap. He made his debut for his one and only club in September 1965 and retired in 1981 after 608 appearances, a club record.
A Detective Sergeant, Gareth was an outstanding forward and a rugby character and a great tourist whether in Cornwall on the annual end of season tour, in Italy playing as a guest for Zebre or California. His memory will never be dimmed, he really was and remains, one of our greatest. His years of dedicated service to Ebbw Vale was an example to those who follow him in the team today.
Message from Chairman Jon Jones,
Ebbw Vale has lost one of its most iconic players and one of my childhood heroes. Since becoming Chair of the club, I was fortunate enough to spend time with Gareth at a few home games, all he wanted was to see the club doing well and playing quality rugby offering administrators, coaches and players encouragement, whilst at the same time ensuring that we all understood what the Ebbw Vale badge stood for.
The Annual award for Club Captain was changed to the Gareth Howls Captains Award, a tribute to his great presence as a Captain, Leader, and Player and his 608 games for the club will remain for eternity marking his enormous contribution to Ebbw Vale RFC.
All at the club are thinking of Gareth’s wife, Stella and family at this sad time.
The Steelmen March On
Ebbw marched on to the semi-final of the WRU Premiership Cup following a second win over Cardiff this season.
Straight from the get go, the hosts took it to their visitors and after a lengthy period of pressure inside the 22, Evan Lloyd knocked over the game’s first points. The Ebbw scrum was rapidly becoming a difference maker and Lloyd added three more points shortly after.
The scrum has been a strong point this season and Ebbw were well on their way to continuing their unbeaten season at the Ciner Glass Community Stadium when the referee decided to award a penalty try off the back of yet another destructive scrum.
A late change to Cardiff’s line-up saw Harrison James move to fly half and assume kicking duties. Despite missing with his first attempt, he was back on track and closed the gap to 10 points with half an hour gone.
The last score of the half belonged to the Steelmen, who combined some fine handling skills amongst the backs that saw Ethan Phillips dart around the defence to grab Ebbw’s second of the day.
HT: Ebbw Vale 20-3 Cardiff
The Blue and Blacks came out of the blocks quickest, with Jason Strange’s men struggling to keep up in the third quarter. Tries from Alun Rees and replacement prop Eddie Drake bringing them back within five points.
The tension was almost unbearable at this point, but the supporters in green, red and white got behind their team one more time to push them to a game winning drive. Jon Evans’ beautifully weighted kick was pounced upon by Amir Jiwa-Walji, who had already made one devastating break just minutes prior, who raced over to score for the Steelmen.
Evan Lloyd’s successful conversion was to be the final score of the game and the hosts marched on to their first semi-final since 2018. The opponents will be one of Llandovery, Swansea or Merthyr.
FT: Ebbw Vale 27-15 Cardiff
Scorers: Tries: Ethan Phillips, Amir Jiwa-Walji, Penalty Try
Cons: Evan Lloyd (2) Pens: Evan Lloyd (2)
The Steelmen return to league action on Saturday 16th December with the visit of Carmarthen Quins to the Ciner Glass Community Stadium with a 2.30pm kick off.
Thanks to Rob Rees for writing the report for this match
Ebbw Vale entertain Cardiff RFC at the Ciner Glass Community Stadium in the Quarter-Final of the WRU Premiership Cup on Saturday with a 2.30pm kick off.
The Steelmen beat Cardiff in the Indigo Premiership earlier in the season with a 36-20 victory at the Arms Park in September with a dominant forward display which led to 4 tries being scored by half time. The Steelmen will look to repeat that form against Cardiff RFC in what will be a tough encounter in the Premiership Cup.
Jason Strange has picked a strong, experienced team for the game with the likes of Rhys Francis, Luke Garrett and Cameron Regan returning to the starting line-up.
The full Ebbw Vale squad for the match is:
15 Carrick McDonough 14 Harry Rees-Weldon 13 Ethan Phillips 12 Dom Franchi 11 Amir Jiwa-Walji 10 Evan Lloyd 9 Jon Evans
1 Luke Garrett 2 Rhys Francis (CAPT) 3 Adam Court 4 Dylan Bartlett 5 Curtis Gregory 6 Cameron Regan 7 Lewis Young 8 Alex Howes
The bench will be finalised before kick-off on Saturday from the following players:
Ieuan Morris, Morgan Davies, Harry Drane, Jakub Malecki, Owen Conquer, Kobi Rees, Rory Harries, Kieran Meek and Morgan Richards
Reminder that this is an all pay game.
Come along and make some noise as the Steelmen attempt to reach the semi-finals of the Premiership Cup. The game kicks off at 2.30pm at the Ciner Glass Community Stadium.
We look forward to seeing you there.
Ebbw Suffer Away Loss
The Steelmen travelled to Aberavon for a midweek game in freezing weather conditions but were unable to come away with any points.
The visitors started on the front foot, which saw them enter the hosts twenty-two on plenty of occasions. However, despite their best efforts, handling errors led to the away side not being able to take advantage of their territorial supremacy.
On the twentieth minute, Ebbw made their territory count. With an Aberavon player not rolling away, the away side were awarded a penalty in front of the posts. Captain Joe Franchi opted for the scrum. From the base of the scrum, experienced number nine Jon Evans darted towards the try line. Not held, the scrum half got back up but was thwarted close to the try line. Young back rower Owen Conquer picked the ball up and dived over the line to score the games opening points. Fly half Evan Lloyd successfully kicked the conversion.
With the forwards going through phase after phase, another snipping run by scrum half Jon Evans saw the experienced player offload to Dylan Bartlett. Brought down close to the line, the ball was spilled forward, and the Wizards were able to clear their lines.
From the resulting clearance, the Steelmen were again on the front foot. However, another error led to the hosts being given the opportunity to clear their lines.
After being awarded a penalty just inside the Ebbw Vale half, a fantastic kick by Aberavon outside half James Davies, saw the ball reach the Ebbw five metre line. From the lineout, hooker Cam Lewis come off the back of the maul and charged through a tackle to score the Wizards first points. Fly half Davies was unable to add the extras.
With the home side coming more into the game, some good attacking play by the Wizards, saw the hosts go close to adding to the score. However, good defence by the away side kept it to a two point game going into the interval.
Half Time: Aberavon RFC 5 Ebbw Vale RFC 7
The away side came out for the second half having to make a change. Captain Joe Franchi was replaced by Ieuan Morris.
Within two minutes of the second half the Wizards took the lead. A clever chip over the Ebbw Vale defence by home replacement Scot Delnevo just inside his half, saw the ball caught on the bounce by winger Jay Baker. With plenty to do the winger stepped inside the covering defence and sprinted into the corner to score Aberavon’s second try of the game. Outside half Davies added the two points. An injury to Jordan Thomas saw Keiran Meek replace the winger.
From the restart, an infringement by a home side player gave the Steelmen a chance to reduce the deficit. From the tee, top points scorer Evan Lloyd successfully kicked the penalty to again make it a two-point game.
Ebbw were given another opportunity immediately, after second row Dylan Bartlett caught the ball from the kick off, ran deep into the home side half and fed speedster Carrick McDonough. With the covering defence in attendance, the speedster kicked the ball forward deep into the twenty-two.
The resulting play saw the home side have a lineout inside their twenty-two. The referee awarded a penalty to the visitors after an infringement in the lineout. However, on this occasion Evan Lloyd was unsuccessful with the kick.
Ebbw flyhalf Lloyd was able to make amends with his next penalty after a penalty from the scrum inside the Wizards twenty-two saw the flyhalf put his side one point ahead.
On the fifty fifth minute, the away side coach Jason Strange made changes. Adam Court replaced Harry Drane, Ewan McIntyre came on for Jacub Malecki and Cameron Regan replaced Owen Conquer.
With the hosts starting to steal more and more of the Steelmen’s lineout, a line out win by Aberavon, saw the forwards set up a maul that reach the visitors twenty-two. With the ball passed out to the backs, a kick through by centre Rodrick saw the centre collect his own kick and draw the defence. An impressive inside pass to replacement scrum half Aron Hemmings, saw the young number sprint over the line to score his sides third try of the game. Flyhalf Davies successfully kicked the conversion.
Further line out issues saw the Steelmen lose territory and after a break on the halfway line by the hosts, an offside decision resulted in the Wizards fly half Davies have an opportunity to stretch his team further ahead with fifteen minutes to go. However, on this occasion the outside half was unable to convert the penalty.
Further replacements by Ebbw Vale saw Rory Harries replace experienced scrum half Jon Evans, Luke Garrett come on for Morgan Davies and Chad Thomas comes on for terrific Alex Howes.
A further line out steal from Aberavon just outside the away side twenty-two saw the ball go through the home side backs hands. A well set up overlap saw flyhalf Davies draw the last defender and pass to centre Frankie Jones, who showed his speed to go over unopposed to score the home side’s bonus point try. Davies was unable to add the extras.
With the game going into the final moments, the Steelmen tried to bring the score back to within a score. However, despite going close, good defence by the Wizards, saw the home side hold out for a well-deserved bonus point win.
Full Time: Aberavon RFC 24 Ebbw Vale RFC 13
Tries: Owen Conquer (1)
Conversion: Evan Lloyd (1)
Penalties: Evan Lloyd (2)
Ebbw Vale’s next game is against Cardiff RFC at the Ciner Glass Community Stadium in the Cup on Saturday 9th December, with kick off at 2:20pm.