Ebbw beat a very good Carmarthen Quins team in an excellent match at Eugene Cross Park on Saturday afternoon to extend their winning league run to five matches and climb to the top of the Principality Premiership.
Ebbw dominated the early exchanges with the pack showing supremacy in the scrums from the first one of the afternoon, but it was the backs who conjured up the first try. Nathan Preece broke through the Quins’ defence and passed to Dan Haymond who beat a couple of opponents before finding the supporting Rhys Downes who crossed. Iain Smerdon converted expertly to give Ebbw a 7-0 lead.
Carmarthen’s first foray into Ebbw’s half resulted in a penalty attempt for outside half Craig Evans who narrowed the lead to 7-3. Ebbw’s scrum superiority was proving a massive factor with the front row of Ross jones, Rhys Francis and Rob Sevenoaks giving their opposite numbers a torrid time. A scrum on Carmarthen’s 5m line saw the visitors’ pack retreating and, when they broke up, Mr Hennessey awarded the penalty try. Smerdon converted to make the score 14-3, but Quins replied from the kick off, moving the ball swiftly for Dylan Morgan to score. Evans missed the extras, and sent a penalty wide with the last kick of the half, so the Steelmen turned around 14-8 up but the game was obviously very far from over.
Carmarthen dominated the third quarter, and took the lead around the hour mark when Jeremy Harries finished another fine move. Evans converted to give his team the lead, 15-14.
Ebbw upped their own tempo and, when Quins were penalised on half way, Carl Meyer found touch in the visitors’ 22. There was a purr of anticipation around the ground and, true to form, we were treated to a classic catch’n’Kynes that gave Ebbw the lead. The last 10 minutes was fantastic with both sides having chances and Wes Cunliffe pulling off one of the tackles of the season to deny Quins what looked like a certain try. The game ended on Ebbw’s line, with Quins hammering away and, although it looked as if they may have sneaked a try, the officials conferred and decided otherwise. The final whistle, music to the ears of the home side, brought to an end one of the best matches seen at ECP for a long time.
The Ebbw team was: Dan Haymond, Owen Williams, Tom Hiscock, Carl Mayer, Nathan Preece; Iain Smerdon, Rhys Downes; JRoss Jones, Rhys Francis, Robert Sevenoaks; Damian Hudd (Capt), Ashley Sweet; Cameron Regan, Ronny Kynes, Spencer Gibson. Bench: John Lavender, Jonny Bowen, Gethin Robinson, Josh Jacas, Harrison Keddie, Chris Thomas, Tom Watkins, Wes Cunliffe.
Ebbw Vale – Tries: Rhys Downes, Penalty, Ronny Kynes
Cons: Iain Smerdon (2)
Carmarthen – Tries: Dylan Morgan, Jeremy Harries
Cons: Craig Evans
Pen: Craig Evans
Man of the Match: Ronny Kynes