Ebbw do the Double Over Ponty
Jason Strange’s team put in a terrific last twenty minutes to make the unlikeliest comeback possible against a fully committed Pontypridd team.
The away side made a fast start. From a strong rolling maul, co club captain Joe Franchi touched down inside the first ten minutes to score the games first try. The league’s top points scorer Evan Lloyd was unable to add the extra’s.
Ponty hit back straight away. A miss-pass by the hosts number ten Ben Burnell inside the Steelmen’s twenty-two saw winger McCauley Rowley go over the line to score the home side’s first try of the afternoon. Full Back Josh Phillips added the two points to put his side into the lead.
Pontypridd extended their lead further when from a grubber kick in the centre of the field, an awkward bounce of the ball, saw the covering defence beaten. Home winger and ex Ebbw player Liam Lloyd collected the ball to touch down unopposed. Phillips successfully kicked the conversion.
The hosts full back Phillips extended his team’s lead to fifteen points by kicking two penalties within minutes of each other.
Against the run of play, the visitors started to apply pressure. Despite running good angles and lines, the away side were unable to score any further points in the first half due to a solid Pontypridd defence holding firm.
Half Time: Pontypridd RFC 20 Ebbw Vale RFC 5
The second half started like the first half ended, with the away side spending time in Ponty’s twenty-two. Again, good defence and turnovers of the ball resulted in the home side ensuring no further points were initially scored.
Ebbw Vale coach Strange, started to ring the changes. Scrum half Rory Harries was replaced by Jon Evans, Prop Morgan Davies came on for Luke Garrett and Kobi Rees replaced Lewis Young.
The home side extended their lead to twenty points within minutes. A kick through from the halfway line saw the ball evade the Steelmen’s defence. Pontypridd winger McCauley collected the ball, drew the last man and sent centre Ryan Wilkins over to score the hosts third try of the game. However, on this occasion Phillips missed the conversion.
With the away side having nothing to lose, the forwards started to take the game to their opponents. Despite being inside the home side’s twenty-two, experienced scrum half Jon Evans saw the space out wide and threw a pass to winger Carrick McDonough. With plenty still to do the winger side stepped his opponent and sped over the line to score Ebbw’s second try of the game. Fly half Lloyd successfully added the two points.
Further changes to the Ebbw Vale side saw hooker Joe Franchi replaced by Ieuan Morris, Prop Harry Drane came off for Owen Hatherill, Ewan McIntyre came on for Owen Conquer and the final substitution saw centre Dom Franchi be replaced by Amir Jiwa-Walji.
With ten minutes left in the game, the visitors turned the game on its head. With an improvement in the lineout, the forwards set up an unstoppable rolling maul, ending with replacement Ieuan Morris touching down. Number ten Lloyd kicked the conversion to bring the game to within a score.
Within five minutes the decisive try was scored. With the grit between their teeth, the Ebbw forwards kept applying pressure and nearly scored themselves. Just short of the tryline and at the ruck, experienced scrum half Jon Evans saw a gap and dived over to score a well taken try and the away side’s forth try of the game. Lloyd added the two points to put the Steelmen one point ahead.
However, the drama had not finished there. From a penalty at the scrum inside the visitor’s half, Pontypridd full back Phillips stepped up with only minutes left. On this occasion the kick went wide and Ebbw saw out the game to come away with what looked like the unlikeliest of wins after sixty minutes.
Credit to both teams, who never gave up and served an excellent final game of the year for both sides.
Full Time: Pontypridd RFC 25 Ebbw Vale RFC 26
Tries: Joe Franchi (1), Carrick McDonough (1), Ieuan Morris (1), Jon Evans (1)
Conversions: Evan Lloyd (3)
After the game we spoke with prop Morgan Davies. Morgan informed the team made a slow start, taking forty minutes to get into the game. Morgan believed the replacements who came off the bench made an impact, and the team picked it up a gear and were delighted to come away with the win.
Ebbw Vale’s next game is Saturday 6th January 2024 at the Ciner Glass Community Stadium against Cardiff, with the kick off at 2:30pm.
Written by Alex Kinsella-Evans