Ebbw Vale Claim Another Win
The Steelmen came away with five points after the game was played in crisp weather conditions.
The game started with both sides making mistakes and releasing the pressure off each other, after making in-roads into each side’s twenty-two.
Following an infringement at the scrum by the visitor’s, a kick to the corner by Ebbw Vale outside half Keiran Meek saw the home side forwards apply the pressure. With co-captain Rhys Francis being stopped just short of the line, second row Curtis Gregory was alert and stretched over the try line, to score the first try of the game. Fly half Meek successfully added the two points.
The away side’s first chance of points came when the All Whites were awarded a penalty just inside the Ebbw half, after a forward strayed in front of the kicker. Ex Ebbw Vale number ten Rhys Jones was unlucky to see his kick fall just short of the posts.
With the visitors putting some nice moves together and keeping hold of the ball, flyhalf Jones was given another opportunity to put his team on the scoreboard after the hosts were caught offside. However, the experienced number ten was unable to take advantage.
With Swansea on the back foot and attempting to run from their own twenty-two, referee Simon Mills adjudged an away back to have held onto the ball at the ruck on the halfway line. Ebbw fly half Meek found touch. From the lineout outside the visitors twenty-two, the hosts forwards set up a rolling maul, which saw Ebbw go forward at a rate of knots. The end result saw co-captain Francis touch down to go joint top of the try scoring charts with his seventh try of the season. Meek was unable to add the extra’s.
The All Whites brought themselves back into the game, when from a lineout in the Steelmen twenty-two, they set up a maul. A break down the blind side saw the ball end up in the hands of Morgan Rees to score a well taken try. Outside half Jones added the two points.
Ebbw Vale extended their lead just before half time when a Swansea player was too quick out of the blocks and was adjudged to have been in front of the kicker. Fly half Meek sent the penalty between the sticks to put his side eight points ahead.
Half Time: Ebbw Vale RFC 15 Swansea RFC 7
The home side came out and went straight onto the front foot. A knock on by an away side player in the visitor’s twenty-two provided Ebbw with a scrum in an attacking position. An impressive push by the Steelmen forwards, saw referee Mills award the hosts a penalty. A chip to the corner by outside Meek saw the Ebbw forwards attempt to replicate their try from the first half from a maul. However, on this occasion, they were unable to take advantage.
With the All Whites unable to clear their line, the hosts were not to be denied, however. Centre Dom Franchi was stopped just shy of the try line. Prop Harry Drane was on hand to dive over and score the home side’s third try of the game.
Ebbw Vale Coach Jason Strange started to ring the changes. Hooker Ieuan Morris replaced co-captain Rhys Francis, Morgan Davies came on for Luke Garrett, Jon Evans replaced Rory Harries, Evan Lloyd replaced Keiran Meek, Ben Main came on for his debut after replacing Kobi Rees and Owen Hatherill replaced Harry Drane.
From a penalty inside the Swansea twenty-two, the Steelmen opted for a scrum. After winning the scrum, an unstoppable maul saw referee Mills have no alternative but to award a penalty try to the home side. To add to their misery, Swansea number seventeen Tom Slone was shown a yellow card and spent ten minutes in the sin bin.
The home side made another change, with young number eight Owen Conquer replacing Alex Howes.
A clever kick forward in space by the hosts full back Carrick McDonough, saw the speedster nearly add another try. However, the covering defence just got back to touch the ball down over the try line for a goal line drop out.
With the All Whites on the back foot, an up and under from their twenty-two landed in the arms of Ebbw replacement Lloyd, who passed straight to replacement number eight Conquer. Charging over the halfway line, the young number eight barged straight through four Swansea defenders and was able to offload in the tackle to supporting runner Jon Evans, who went over unopposed. Replacement fly half Lloyd successfully kicked the conversion.
Credit to the All Whites, who never gave up and nearly scored their second try of the game late on when centre Osian Knott passed out wide to winger Morgan Rees, who believed he was in to score. However, referee Mills pulled play back for a forward pass.
The home side finished the game with fourteen men, when in the last-minute replacement scrum half Jon Evans was shown the yellow card for ill-discipline. The away side were unable to take advantage and Ebbw cleared their lines to see out the game.
Full Time: Ebbw Vale RFC 36 Swansea RFC 7
Tries: Curtis Gregory (1), Rhys Francis (1), Harry Drane (1), Penalty Try (1), Jon Evans
Conversions: Keiran Meek (2), Evan Lloyd (1)
Penalty: Keiran Meek (1)
After the game we spoke with Ebbw Vale prop and try scorer Harry Drane. Harry was happy with not only the front five’s performance, but also the team performance. Harry said the team worked on what they practiced during training. He was pleased to get the bonus point win, especially with team’s close by dropping points.
We also spoke with Swansea and ex Ebbw Vale fly half Rhys Jones. Rhys acknowledged it was a tough game. He said the Swansea squad were expecting it to be a difficult game playing away to Ebbw Vale, especially playing in cold weather conditions. He informed Ebbw Vale are a well drilled team, who are going well in the league and cup. Rhys believed Swansea made to many mistakes, which gave Ebbw field position, and they took full advantage.
Ebbw Vale’s next game is away to Aberavon in front of the S4C Clic cameras on Thursday 30 November 2023, with kick off 7:30pm.
Written by Alex Kinsella-Evans