Iron beat Steel
By Alex Kinsella-Evans
Third placed the Ironmen made a short trip across the Heads of the Valley to play fifth placed the Steelmen on a horrendous night where seeing players on the field was difficult.
Straight from the kick off Merthyr were on the front foot when the ball was knocked on by an Ebbw Vale forward. However, the play came to nothing.
With the weather conditions deteriorating, the referee awarded Merthyr a penalty. With the wind behind them, the Ironmen kicked to touch. From the lineout the referee awarded another penalty to the away side. Former Steelman flyhalf Josh Lewis, playing at inside centre for the evening successfully added the three points.
As the ball became difficult to keep hold of, due to the driving rain, Merthyr knocked the ball on, on their twenty-two. From the resulting scrum, the referee awarded a penalty to the home side. Ebbw’s prolific points scorer, Evan Lloyd, kicked his first penalty of the evening.
With Merthyr gaining the ascendancy and dealing with the weather conditions better, the away side were awarded consecutive penalties. However, the play came to nothing when the Steelmen turned the ball over and the referee awarded a penalty to Ebbw.
From the penalty, the home side’s outside half, Evan Lloyd, kicked into the Merthyr half. From the lineout, the home side went through the phases before the referee gave Ebbw a penalty within kicking range. Merthyr number five, Callum Bradbury, was sent to the sin bin for ten minutes. Fly half Lloyd put the home side in front after kicking the penalty.
Down to fourteen men, the Ironmen kept the ball within the forwards and from a lineout in the Steelmen’s half, the ball made its way to Merthyr winger Terri Gee, who burst through three missed tackles to go over for the first try of the game. Josh Lewis successfully converted the try, adding two points for the away team.
With both teams struggling to keep hold of the ball, no further points were added to the scoreline in the first half.
Half Time: Ebbw Vale 6-13 Merthyr
The second half continued in much the same vein as the first half, with both teams being awarded penalties and not being able to keep hold of the ball.
With the Ebbw pack starting to gain some ball, the referee awarded a penalty which outside half Lloyd successfully kicked to bring the home side within four points of the visitors.
As the home side line out started to go astray and Merthyr gaining more of the territory, the referee gave two further penalties to Merthyr, both inside the Steelmen’s half, which Lewis successfully converted, to make the scoreline nineteen points to nine to the away side.
Inside the last twenty minutes, the Ebbw forwards went through some good phases of play. The ball made its way out to Morgan Richards, who sliced through the Merthyr defence, only to be stopped by an illegal offence. The referee awarded a penalty to the home side within the Ironmen’s twenty-two. However, Lloyd hit the upright with the penalty attempt.
Both sides entered into a kicking dual to try and force a mistake. When inside the Ebbw twenty-two a kick by speedster Ryan Davies unfortunately hit a fellow Steelman and fell into the hands of an away side player who turned and went over for the away side’s second try of the game. Lewis was unable to add the two points.
As the weather deteriorated, no further points were added to the scoreline and the Ironmen deservedly won the game.
FT: Ebbw Vale 9-24 Merthyr
Spirit of Wales Distillery MOTM: Evan Lloyd
After the game we spoke with former Steelmen, Dragons and Ospreys back Josh Lewis. Josh commented on it being a game he did not want to be involved in. He acknowledged it was a game where a result had to be dug out. He finished by saying it was nice to get a victory, especially as he knew it was tough to go to the Ciner Glass Community Stadium and come away as victors.
We also caught up with Ebbw Vale winger Carrick McDonough. Carrick was disappointed with the performance. He thought there were errors in the set piece, individual errors from himself and others and overall the team made too many mistakes to be able to come away with a victory.