Match Report – Ebbw Vale RFC 50 Merthyr RFC 31

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Match Report – Ebbw Vale RFC 50 Merthyr RFC 31

Ebbw Score Seven

The Steelmen served up a Christmas cracker five-star performance to score fifty points for the second Saturday running.

An error by the hosts straight from the kick off saw the visitors take full advantage. With Ebbw unable to keep hold of the ball, some quick play saw the Ironmen score out wide. Merthyr was unsuccessful with the conversion.

Ebbw Vale soon got into their stride. Captain Joe Franchi opted for a scrum after being awarded consecutive penalties inside the away side’s twenty-two. From the second scrum, quick ball out to the backs saw full back Morgan Richards score his first try of the game. Fly half Evan Lloyd added the extra two points.

Further pressure in the scrum inside the away side half saw the hosts win yet another penalty. Outside half Lloyd sent the kick through the uprights to extend his teams lead to five points.

The home side were reduced to fourteen men when winger Carrick McDonough was sent to the sin bin for ten minutes by referee Adam Jones after a chip over the defence saw the Merthyr outside half collect the ball and kick it back downfield. Totally out of character the Ebbw Vale player took out the visiting player late to receive a yellow card.

The Ironmen made their numerical advantage count by exploiting the lack of cover on the wing. Fly half Thompson`s grubber kicked through to touch down unopposed under the posts. The number ten followed up his try with the conversion to put Merthyr two points in front.

With the home side back to fifteen men, the forwards started to apply the pressure. After going through the phases, number eight Alex Howes kept up his good recent run to power over the line to score. Lloyd successfully added the extras.

A well weighted chip over the Ironmen’s defence by the hosts outside half Lloyd, saw winger Harry Rhys-Weldon collect the ball. With a covering defender still to beat, the young winger did well to draw the defender, stay in play and offload to the supporting Ethan Phillips to score out wide. Top points scorer Lloyd superbly sent the conversion through the posts.

Ebbw increased their lead further when from a lineout, quick, crisp passing between the backs saw full back Richards enter the line. With a lot still to do, the full back powered through four separate tackles to touch down for his second try of the game.

Half Time: Ebbw Vale RFC 31 Merthyr RFC 12

The home side came out for the second half determined not to take their foot off the pedal. After being awarded a penalty in the Merthyr twenty-two, captain Franchi opted for another scrum. From the scrum, further quick ball out to the backs saw centre Phillips add to his tally by touching down out wide. Number ten Lloyd was unsuccessful with the conversion.

With the Steelmen dominant, referee Jones showed Merthyr lock Tom Davies a yellow card for ill-discipline. Ebbw took advantage of having an additional man. From the scrum the forwards took the ball forward. After phase after phase and just metres short, scrum half Jonathan Evans threw the ball out wide to centre Phillips. With a man outside him, Phillips darted through the gap to score a hat trick of tries. Sharpshooter Lloyd added the two points.

Ebbw Vale coach Jason Strange started to ring the changes. Prop Adam Court was replaced by Harry Drane and captain Joe Franchi came off for Ieuan Morris.

The home side kept up the pressure. From a scrum after a knock on by the visitors, full back Richards scored his third and Ebbw’s seventh try of the game out wide. An excellent conversion from the touchline by Lloyd brought up the fifty points for the hosts.

Steelmen coach Strange replaced scrum half Jonathan Evans with Rory Harries, fly half Evan Lloyd came off for Keiran Meek, Carrick McDonough was replaced by Amir Jiwa-Walji, Ewan McIntyre replaced Lewis Young and Dylan Barlett came off for Jakub Malecki.

Merthyr did not give up, despite the scoreline. Pressure by the away side nearly resulted in the ball reaching the wing, however Harry Rhys-Weldon got to the ball first and the ball went into touch. Discussing with his officials, referee Jones showed the young winger a yellow card for deliberately knocking the ball into touch and awarded the away side a penalty try.

A nasty looking tackle on home replacement prop Harry Drane brought the game to a standstill. However, with the officials believing the tackle was fair, the away side were awarded a scrum. With the ball in their twenty-two and the hosts down to thirteen men due to an injury to inside centre Dom Franchi, the Ironmen put width on the ball. With a two man advantage, Merthyr took full advantage and scored a well taken length of the pitch try through Ex Ebbw player Josh Lewis. Lewis followed up his try by adding the extra’s.

Ebbw Vale final replacement Owen Hatherall came on for the injured Franchi and a rejig to the backline saw forward McIntyre spend some tine out on the wing.

The final play of the game saw Merthyr score their fifth try out wide after taking a quick penalty. However, they were unable to kick the conversion and referee Jones blew his whistle to bring the game to an end.

Ebbw Vale RFC 50 Merthyr RFC 31

 

Man of the match: Jonathan Evans

Tries: Morgan Richards (3), Ethan Phillips (3), Alex Howes (1)

Conversions: Evan Lloyd (6)

Penalty: Evan Lloyd (1)

 

After the game we spoke with Ebbw Vale number eight Alex Howes. Alex thought the team dug in deep against a very strong Merthyr side. Alex and the squad knew it was going to be a hard game but did not let their foot off the throttle from the start. Alex was disappointed the team conceded second half tries, however, he acknowledged this was not helped by a reduction in numbers during the game. Alex finished by advising it was a great win for the club, a lovely celebration for Christmas for everyone involved, and Alex and the squad would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.

 

Ebbw Vale’s final game of the year is away against Pontypridd at Sardis Road on Saturday 30 December 2023 with kick off at 2:30pm.

Written by Alex Kinsella-Evans

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