Ebbw ended their home league campaign with a disappointing 34-20 defeat to Bedwas, whose four tries gave them a bonus point to put them back in firm contention for the play-offs.The game was a close affair, but Bedwas had more of a cutting edge and took their chances well, despite falling behind to a sharp Rhys Downes try converted by Adam Jones within the first five minutes. Tries by Lewis Hudd and Mike Callow, both converted by Richard Powell who also notched a penalty, gave the visitors a 17-7 lead. Ebbw struck back well, a series of surges being foiled by foul play, eventually earning a yellow card for James Sawyer. Adam Jones made it 10-17 but the influential Powell extended the lead again with another penalty. With Ebbw again threatening, Bedwas again infringed to kill the ball and this time centre Mike Callow saw yellow, with Adam Jones’s successful penalty sending the teams in at half time at 13-20.
Ebbw failed to make the one-man advantage count and it was Bedwas full back Harley Thomson who scored next, outpacing the home defence to claim the touchdown. Powell added two more.
Ebbw’s line out worked very well, and the Steelmen gave their opponents a hard time scrummaging, but Bedwas bossed the loose, pouring through rucks and mauls to spoil and slow, and often to steal the ball. Some of it may have been illegal, but some of it was certainly not well defended by Ebbw.
Ebbw’s superior scrum power gained their second try. With yet another Bedwas player sin-binned – captain Phill Rees this time – a series of 5m scrums seemed destined to cross the try line, only for referee Mr Thomas to adjudge that Bedwas had collapsed, wheeled or otherwise illegally prevented the score. After fair warning, his patience ran out and Ebbw were awarded a penalty try, which Adam Jones converted for 20-27. Hopes of a draw buoyed the Ebbw supporters… but Bedwas spoiled that particular dream when former Steelman Richard Wilkes burrowed over for their bonus point try – though there was a suspicion of a knock on – which Richard Powell converted to seal the win, 34-20.
Bedwas undoubtedly deserved the win, and revenge for the Christmas derby defeat by Ebbw, but the Steelmen will be bitterly disappointed by a below par performance, with three games left, at Llandovery, Llanelli and Cardiff.