Ebbw win out West
Fifth placed The Steelmen came away from Carmarthen Park with a win after a competitive game was played in the Spring sunshine.
From the kick off, the ball was taken into touch in the Carmarthen twenty-two by a Quins player. The away side spent plenty of time in the home side twenty-Two trying to score the first try of the game, however, were held up over the try line. The referee awarded the Quins a dropout.
With the Steelmen spending the majority of the time inside the Carmarthen half, a rare attack into the away side twenty-two saw the Quins awarded a scrum. Against the run of play, referee Craig Evans ruled the Ebbw Vale front row had caused an illegal offence and awarded the home side a penalty. The Quins outside half Steff Marshall put the first points on the scoreboard.
An early substitution for the Steelmen saw winger Ryan Davies making way for Amir Jiwa Walji after receiving a knock to the head.
With the Ebbw Vale front row of Charley Kearns, Rhys Francis and Dave Whiting not taking a backward step and being supported well by the remainder of the pack, referee Evans awarded the first of two yellow cards to the Quins front rower James Newnian for an illegal offence.
The Steelmen decided to kick to the corner and from the line out, the home side turned the ball over. However, further offences by Carmarthen players saw referee Evans award Ebbw two consecutive penalties.
The pressure eventually told for the away side, when from a scrum inside the Quins twenty-two, quick ball made its way out to Ebbw’s full back Morgan Richards, who showed his strength and powered between two Quins players to score the first try of the game. The away side’s number ten Evan Lloyd was unable to add the extras.
From the kick off, the ball reached winger Carrick McDonough, who tapped the ball into touch to bring the first half to its conclusion.
Half Time: Carmarthen Quins 3-5 Ebbw Vale
With the Steelmen playing into the wind in the second half, the opening phases of the half were even until the home side’s number three Ben Leung was shown the second yellow card for the Quins.
Ebbw coach Jason Strange started to ring the changes with Joe Franchi replacing fellow captain Rhys Francis, Ryan Jenkins replaced number eight Chad Thomas and centre Ethan Phillips on his return to the squad from injury came on for fly half Evan Lloyd. The latter seeing a reshuffle to the back line with Phillips slotting into the outside centre position, Dom Franchi moving back to his usual position of inside centre and Kieran Meek moving to fly half.
With Carmarthen claiming more of the ball in the second half, referee Evans awarded the Quins a penalty inside the Ebbw Vale twenty-two. Outside half Marshall easily converted the penalty to put the home side a point in front.
During the half, the away side made further changes when props Adam Court and Joel Harries, who returned to the squad after a spell out injured, replaced the tireless Charley Kearns and Dave Whiting. From a lineout, the ball made its way out to the Steelmen’s replacement number eight Ryan Jenkins, who made a barn storming run into the home side half, only to be tackled before he was able to pass the ball to the supporting Ethan Phillips.
Ebbw were awarded a penalty in their own half, which Meek kicked to the Quins twenty-two. With the line out greatly improved, the away side won the ball and the forwards put together an impressive maul, only to be stopped from going over the line. Further good work by the away side forwards saw referee Evans award a penalty to Ebbw. Fly half Meek successfully added the three points to put his side ahead by two.
With the Ebbw forwards starting to win more ball, some clean quick ball on the Carmarthen twenty-two made its way out to second row Curtis Gregory, who in the centre position galloped through a gap in the defence to score a very well taken try. Meek added the extra two points.
The away sides final change of the game saw backrower Gethin Williams replace the hard-working Lewis Young.
As the game entered its final moments, the home side applied pressure only to be stopped by a well drilled Ebbw defence. However, with the final play of the game, the Quins breached the Steelmen defence with a well finished try. Outside half Steff Marshall added the two points with the final kick of the game.
Full Time: Carmarthen Quins 13- 15 Ebbw Vale
After the game we spoke to Ebbw Vale try scorer and second row Curtis Gregory. Curtis acknowledged in the first half the team did not help themselves by making too many errors. However, he believes in the second half the team managed to hold onto the ball better, went through some plays and created chances. Curtis finished by stating he was happy to have scored his first try for the club.