Steelmen Just Miss Out
Ebbw entertained second place Cardiff on a sun-baked afternoon at the Ciner Glass Community Stadium, in their final game of the season.
With both sides starting the game by giving away a number of penalties, referee Ben Connor awarded the home side a penalty in the away side’s half. The Steelmen’s top scorer and full back for the day Evan Lloyd successfully kicked the penalty to put his side ahead.
The blue and blacks were soon down to fourteen men when flanker Nathan Hudd was sent to the sin bin for ten minutes by referee Connor for repeated infringements. With Ebbw having the upper hand, flanker Lewis Young scored the game’s first try. Full back Lloyd added the two points.
Further good play by the home side’s forwards and backs saw the Steelmen almost score a second try, only for the assistant referee to adjudge a push off the ball, which resulted in Cardiff being awarding a penalty to relieve the pressure.
With the away side putting together some good phases of play inside the Ebbw Vale twenty-two, referee Connor awarded the blue and blacks a penalty within five metres of the line. Some quick thinking by outside half Dan Fish saw the number ten take a quick penalty and dive over the line to score his sides first points of the game. With Fish moving out to the wing, replacement fly half Harrison James kicked the conversion to bring his side to within three points.
On the stroke of half time, referee Connor penalised Ebbw. Cardiff marksman Harrison James again kicked the penalty to take the game into half time all square.
Half Time: Ebbw Vale 10 – Cardiff 10
The home side came out in the second half clearly fired up. After winning good lineout ball and then being awarded a scrum, referee Connor awarded Ebbw a penalty inside the blue and blacks half. Lloyd successfully added the three points.
Against the run of play, the away side were awarded a penalty from a scrum inside the Steelmen’s half. Replacement flyhalf Harrison James again levelled the score at 13 all.
Some good play by the Ebbw backs, just inside the blue and black’s half saw the Steelmen almost score a second try. A quick pass inside found its way to speedster Carrick McDonough, who cut a line through the defence to show his speed and go untouched over the try line, only for referee Connor to bring the game back for a forward pass.
Ebbw Vale head coach Jason Strange made the decision to replace the magnificent Joe Franchi with Rhys Francis, the hard-working Luke Garrett with Joel Harries, the superb Dave Whiting, on his last appearance for the side with Adam Court and the ever-dependable Lewis Young with Bevan Jay.
With the game entering the final fifteen minutes, Cardiff scored the winning points, when from a scrum the ball was fed to full back Cameron Winnett. In space, the full back went over the line for his sides second try of the game. James was unable to add the two points.
The Steelmen made their final changes when Matthew Flanagan replaced the quick-thinking Jon Evans, Morgan Richards came on for the skilful Kieran Meek and Ewan Bowden made his debut for Ebbw when replacing Amir Jiwa Walji on the wing. Morgan Thomas replaced Jakub Malecki in the final change for the Steelmen.
With the away side giving away penalty after penalty in the dying moments, the Steelmen were unable to capitalise, with the blue and blacks seeing out the game.
Full Time: Ebbw Vale 13- Cardiff 18
Spirit of Wales Distillery man of the match: Joe Franchi
Straight after the game we spoke with Prop Dave Whiting, who was making his final appearance for Ebbw. Dave although disappointed with the result believed the team played well.
Looking back on the four years he has been at the club, Dave said it is a great family club, who have welcomed him and his family since day one. He has enjoyed his time at Ebbw and wishes everyone at the club all the best for the future.
We also caught up with Ebbw Vale flanker Gethin Williams. Gethin thought the team put in a good performance. He thought they were unlucky, and a few decisions did not go the side’s way. However, he was encouraged with the team’s heart and effort and believes there are a lot of positives to take into next season.
Finally, we also spoke with Cardiff flyhalf Dan Fish, who was making his final appearance at the Ciner Glass Community Stadium. Dan paid credit to Ebbw Vale. He acknowledged it is always tough to come up to Ebbw and win. However, he was happy they did so. He finished by stating he was over the moon to have played so many games for both Cardiff (region) and Cardiff RFC during his career.
Report written by Alex Kinsella-Evans