Ebbw Edge Sardis Nail Biter
By Alex Kinsella-Evans
Ebbw come away with the points after a hard fort battle at Sardis Road, where both sides had a player yellow carded.
Straight from the kick-off, Pontypridd were put under pressure as they were pushed back over their own goal line, which resulted in a goal-line dropout.
The first try of the game came through Ebbw Vale’s outside centre Ethan Phillips, with the Steelman’s number ten Evan Lloyd having a rare off day with the boot by missing the posts.
With the home side starting to get into the game, they were awarded a penalty due to Ebbw creeping offside. Ponty’s number ten Ben Burnell putting three points on the board for the home side.
The Steelmen were awarded a penalty from inside the Ponty 10 metre line. However, outside half Lloyd was unable to add the three points. A further attempt at goal from another penalty also sailed wide.
A second try for the away side came from a subtle kick through by Lloyd, which was collected by the Steelmen’s number fourteen Carrick McDonough who ran in at pace to score the try. Lloyd again unable to add the extra’s.
With the home side under increased pressure, from a scrum in the Pontypridd twenty-two, Ebbw’s winger McDonough cut a good line through the home defence, leaving a gap for former Ponty fullback Morgan Richards to crash over for the away side’s third try of the game. Lloyd adding the extras.
Ponty got back into the game on the stroke of half time after spending some time in the away side’s twenty-two. The home side were awarded a penalty after an infringement in the scrum, which was kicked to the corner. Pontypridd won the lineout; however, the maul was initially halted. Further good, combined play by the Ponty backs and forwards saw the home side number two Rob Jones crashing over for his side’s first try of the game. Burnell successfully kicking the conversation.
HT: Pontypridd 10 – 17 Ebbw Vale
With the home side in the ascendancy at the start of the second half, Ebbw fullback Richards was awarded a yellow card for a deliberate knock-on inside the Steelman’s twenty-two. From the resulting penalty, Ponty’s number two Jones scored his and the home sides second try. The home side’s number ten, Burnell unable to kick the conversion.
The referee awarded a penalty to the away side. A kick into Ponty’s twenty-two sees the Ebbw forwards form a maul that came to nothing.
With the Steelmen having more of the ball, the home side’s former Ebbw centre Jordan Howells was awarded a yellow card due to an infringement inside the home twenty-two. However, the passage of play led to no further points being added to the scoreboard.
With the game being played at a high pace, the referee awarded Pontypridd consecutive penalties inside the away side’s half. With both sides making changes, Ponty scored their third try of the game. Burnell adding the conversation.
The Steelmen were awarded a penalty inside the home side’s half. Outside half Lloyd slotting the penalty over to make it a two-point game.
With the game going into the last fifteen minutes, the referee awarded Ebbw two further penalty`s which Lloyd uncharacteristically missed. With only a few minutes left, the away side were provided a chance to win the game from a penalty awarded at a scrum. Replacement flyhalf Kieran Meek superbly slotted the penalty to provide the final points of the game.
The referee awarded the away side a penalty with the final kick of the game. However, Meek sent the ball wide of the posts.
FT: Pontypridd 22- 23 Ebbw Vale
After the game, Ebbw’s head coach Jason Strange was really pleased with his team’s performance in the first half and was delighted to secure the win. He was particularly pleased with how the team found a way to win. Whilst acknowledging there was room for improvement, Jason was happy with some of the things he saw out on the field. He also paid tribute to Pontypridd and thought they did well in the second half to come back into the game.
We also spoke with Ebbw’s joint captain Joe Franchi. Reflecting on the game, Joe was pleased with the team’s first half performance. He acknowledged it was disappointing to give away a try just before half time and thought in the second half, the team got the on the wrong side of the referee with ill-discipline. The substitutions who came on had a positive impact and helped get Ebbw back into the game. Joe was happy with replacement Keirin Meek, who slotted over the penalty to win the game. Finally, Joe was happy the boys managed to hold out especially as Sardis Road is never an easy place to come to and was looking forward to the Merthyr game next week.