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.