Pontypool win the Gwent derby
The Steelmen left Pontypool Park with a losing bonus point, after playing in front of the S4C Clic cameras.
The away side took the game straight to Pontypool. After winning the scrum inside the home side twenty-two, the Ebbw forwards went through phase after phase, before number eight Ryan Jenkins powered his way over the try line. Outside half Evan Lloyd successfully added the two points.
Flyhalf Lloyd was unable to add a further three points from a penalty, after a shot at goal from near the halfway line went wide of the posts.
With the game being played from one end to the other, Pooler soon scored their first points of the night, after number ten Matthew Jarvis successfully kicked a penalty.
The home side scored their first try of the game, when the ball reached Pooler centre Joel Mahoney out wide from a maul. With a lot to do and two men outside him, Mahoney showed his speed and went around the covering defender to touch down. Jarvis duly added the two points. In trying to stop the try, Ebbw Vale number eight Ryan Jenkins pulled up with an injury and as a result was replaced by Chad Thomas.
After winning a rare lineout inside their own half, the Steelmen’s fly half Evan Lloyd put in a superb 50:22 to put his side on the front foot. However, the away side were unable to take advantage, with Pooler winning the lineout and clearing their lines.
With Ebbw Vale having the better of the scrum, referee Craig Evans awarded a penalty to give the away side a chance to level the score. Last year’s club top point scorer Evan Lloyd duly obliged to bring the scores level.
Ebbw scored their second try of the game and the last points of the first half when scrum half Jon Evans collected a high ball on the halfway line. With a lot to do, the scrum half burst through tackles before offloading the ball to the supporting forwards in the Pontypool twenty-two. With the home side defence being stretched, a long back of the hand pass by Ebbw Vale number ten Evan Lloyd out to the wing, saw the home side winger Walker Price knock the ball on. Taking his time to decide, referee Craig Evans adjudged the winger to have deliberately knocked the ball on and showed the player a yellow card. To compound the woes, referee Evans also awarded the Steelmen a penalty try.
Half Time: Pontypool RFC 10 Ebbw Vale RFC 17
The second half started off in the same fashion as the first with the away side dominating the scrum but losing the line out.
Whilst still down to fourteen men, Pontypool hit back. From a line out in the Ebbw Vale twenty-two, the home side forwards played through phase after phase with the Steelmen defence holding firm. However, replacement Dylan Kelleher-Griffiths was strong enough to dive over the line. Outside half Jarvis hit the post after slipping.
The away side quickly added a further three points from the boot of Lloyd, after referee Evans awarded a penalty due to scrum half Jon Evans being upended illegally.
With the Pontypool forwards in the ascendancy, Referee Evans produced a yellow card to Ebbw prop Morgan Davies for not rolling away.
Looking to freshen things up, Ebbw Vale coach Jason Strange replaced co-captain Rhys Francis with Ieuan Morris, prop Adam Court came on for Harry Drane and second row Jakub Maleki was replaced by Curtis Gregory.
A rolling maul by the Steelmen forwards was stopped on the halfway line when referee Evans penalised a home side forward for illegally changing their bind. A superb kick into the Pooler twenty-two, saw Ebbw Vale make an unforced error when the ball was not thrown into the lineout straight.
However, from the scrum, referee Evans penalised Pontypool and award a penalty. On this occasion, however, Ebbw outside half Lloyd was unable to add the three points.
Further Steelmen changes saw Kieran Meek replace flyhalf Evan Lloyd, Gethin Williams came on for Lewis Young and Luke Garrett replaced Morgan Davies after the conclusion of his yellow card.
The home side went back in front with ten minutes left to play. After a knock on from the restart on the Ebbw try line, Pooler replacement Ben Moa ran at the away side defence. The forwards again going through the phases, with Alex Grey driving the ball over the line to score. Number ten Jarvis kicked the conversion successfully.
A big push in the scrum from the Pontypool forwards with five minutes to go, saw Craig Evans penalise the Ebbw scrum. Pooler number ten Jarvis was successful with the penalty to put his team five points ahead.
No further points were scored in the final five minutes, in front of a crowd that was estimated to be between two to three thousand.
Full Time: Pontypool RFC 25 Ebbw Vale RFC 20
Tries: Ryan Jenkins, penalty try
Conversion: Evan Lloyd
Penalties: Evan Lloyd (2)
The Steelmen next play away to Newport on Saturday the 18th of November 2023 with kick-off at 2:30pm.
Written by Alex Kinsella-Evans