Aug 18th: Ampthill 20 Ebbw Vale15

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Aug 18th: Ampthill 20 Ebbw Vale15

 

Ebbw Vale narrowly lost to a highly experienced Ampthill team that contained several international players amongst the forwards. Ebbw fans will instantly recognise former Cardiff Blues favourite Maama Molitika but may be less familiar hooker Aleki Lutui, a Tongan international who has displayed his skills at Worcester Warriors and Gloucester, alongside fellow Tongan international Soane Tong’uiha, a European Cup winner with Northampton Saints.
The 20 -15 scoreline was made up of 4 tries for Ampthill, 3 driving line outs and one from a close range pick and drive that made clear the power the opponents pack were generating. Geraint Rhys Jones provided all the points for Ebbw Vale with a 100% success rate proving that accurate goal kicking runs in his family, and matching younger brother Dorian’s exploits with the boot for the Steelmen last season. The team was superbly led by Kristian Parker and displayed tenacity and no little defensive skill in not allowing the opposition back division to open them up on any occasion, carrying on the form that made the Steelmen so difficult to beat from December onwards last season. All who took the field played their part in this but particularly prominent were the Young brothers, Lewis and Owen in the back row, and second row Lance Randall.
There were also very promising signs behind the pack off limited ball, with James Lewis, Toby Fricker and Steffan Thomas all making searing breaks that were halted metres from the try line; with a little more of a clinical approach they would have resulted in scores for the Steelmen.  The second period half back pairing of Sam Ireland and Geraint Rhys Jones were key contributors in the attacking phase with fast and accurate distribution. Ebbw Vale finished the stronger team with the fitness of the squad coming through and were on the attack with a 5 metre line out in the last minute which was ruled a knock on by the referee, much to the astonishment of the Steelmen forwards and supporters
One particular moment on 72 minutes epitomised the Steelmen effort and was worth the 8 hour round trip for the Ebbw Addicts. A turnover ball deep in the Ampthill 22 looked to be a certain score as the Ampthill winger sped down the touchline. On the opposite wing Toby Fricker had other ideas, set off in what looked like a hopeless pursuit. By using the angles, great pace and determination – and much to the surprise of the Ampthill winger – Toby tackled him 5 metres out causing the ball to be knocked forward.  This was a superb piece of defensive work!
Finally, it would be remiss of us not to mention the superb hospitality afforded to Ebbw Vale officials by Bedford Blues and we wish both them and Paul Turner’s Ampthill all the best for the coming season

The squad was:

15) Dan Haymond
14) Steffan Thomas
13) Paul King
12) James Lewis
11) Toby Fricker
10) Rhys Jones
9) Dai Jones
8) Lewis Young
7) Owen Young
6) Kristian Parker (c)
5) Ashley Sweet
4) Lance Randall
3) Curtis Hicks
2) Joe Franchi
1) Joel Harries

16) Rhys Francis
17)Jordan Rogers
18) Rob Sevenoaks
19)Levi Jones
20Sam Ireland
21)Matthew Flanagan
22)Ben Murphy
23Dan Davies
24)Luke Shore

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