Ebbw Vale youth entertained Caldicot/Chepstow youth in the Gwent Cup semi-final at Cae Canol field, Ebbw Vale on a beautiful summer’s day.
An eventful start to the game saw both sides being awarded penalties. An excellent kick by outside half Fin Southall from inside the Steelmen’s half found the away side’s twenty-two. From the resulting lineout, good forward play saw second row Sam Walters crash over the line to score the game’s first try. Outside half Fin Southall was unsuccessful with a tricky conversation.
With the home side’s forwards becoming dominant, further good play by their forwards, saw hooker Cameron Bolton scored his team’s second try of the game. However, fly half Fin Southall was unsuccessful from a similar position to his first attempt.
After the referee penalised both sides further, enterprising play by the Steelmen’s forwards, saw the ball end up at the hands of captain and flanker Mason Coughlin, who did well to cross the line to score the third try of the game. Fly half Fin Southall found his range to add the extras to put his side 17 points ahead.
It didn’t take long for the home side speedster Jack Thomas to add his name to the scoreboard by scoring try numbers four and five of the game shortly before halftime. The first of which was an excellent move, which started in the Ebbw Vale twenty-two. Some slick, quick passes saw the ball make its way to winger Jack Thomas who showed his gas to enter the Caldicot / Chepstow twenty-two. With just the full back to beat, a delicate chip saw the winger outpace the covering defence to be the first player to the ball to touch down. Outside half Fin Southall was successful with the first conversion. However, missed the latter.
Despite good pressure by the dominant home side pack, no further points were added to the scoreboard in an entertaining first half.
Half Time: Ebbw Vale Youth 29 – 0 Caldicot/Chepstow Youth
The Steelmen came out of the blocks exactly as they finished the first half. Within minutes of the game restarting, the home side scored their sixth try of the game. Good work by the forwards made the ball available, deep in the away side’s twenty-two. Clean, quick ball resulted in outside centre Ryan Denney crossing the line. Flyhalf Fin Southall again added the two points.
With Ebbw completely on the front foot and the forwards crossing the gain line at will, outside half Fin Southall scored a well taken try for his side and was also successful with the conversion.
Against the run of play, the referee showed Ebbw inside centre Lewis Prendergast a yellow card after the Steelmen were penalised on numerous occasions inside their own twenty-two. Caldicot / Chepstow scored a deserved try after the forwards went through the phases. Just short of the try line, the ball was picked up by one of the second rows, who dived over the line to score. Despite initially missing the conversation, the referee requested the kick be retaken. This time the kick was successful.
Ebbw scored their eighth try of the game when replacement scrum half Ryan Jones found the ball at his feet. With time running out, the replacement scrum half, darted over the line to add the five points. Fin Southall successfully added the two points to bring the game to a close.
After the game, we spoke to the team captain and try scorer on the day Mason Coughlin. Mason was happy with his team’s performance and believed the defence and good attacking skills made the difference.
We also spoke with Ebbw’s head coach Mathew Williams. Mathew acknowledged the effort the Caldicot/Chepstow side put in, especially within the first ten minutes. However, he was happy with his team’s performance and thought the squad’s fitness and skill level made the difference. Looking forward to the final, Mathew acknowledged the squad are always looking to improve and will have to go up a level for the game. Mathew believes this is something his team can achieve.