Ebbw’s seventh successive league win took them to second place in the Principality Premiership and denied Llanelli a season’s double.
On a cold afternoon at Eugene Cross Park, Ebbw applied early pressure and reward came after 10 minutes when, after patient phase play, Ashley Sweet stretched out a long arm to gain his team’s first try. Dan Haymond converted. Undeterred, Llanelli hit straight back and when Ebbw strayed offside, former Steelman Josh Lewis kicked for the corner. The ensuing lineout led to a well marshalled catch and drive of which the Steelmen would have been proud, and number 8 Trystan Lloyd got the touchdown. Lewis converted to level the scores.
The first half was evenly matched, and the visitors looked to send the ball wide at every opportunity, obviously feeling that Scarlet Mike Tagicakibau was a threat. Ebbw’s drift defence kept them at bay though and the Steelmen were next to score when David Williams crossed wide out. The half time score was 14-8, but there were ominous signs for the visitors whose pack could not contain the Ebbw eight – at least, not legally.
Early in the second half, Ebbw gave a masterclass in the lineout drive, leading to the inevitable ‘Catch’n’Kynes’. As Ebbw increased the intensity of their play, Llanelli folded somewhat and a series of infringements gave Ebbw opportunities to stretch the lead. Chris Thomas muscled over from a ruck close to the visitors’ try line to bag the bonus point and Chris Levesley took his team out of sight when he crossed for the fifth try after lovely hands from Chris Thomas and Adam Jones – whose centre partnership with Nathan Preece has clicked at just the right time. Iain Smerdon goaled the last two to make the score 36-8.
Llanelli now enjoyed their best period of the match, winning good possession and putting Ebbw under immense pressure. However, the Steelmen’s defence was magnificent and all the attacks were ended with turnovers that enabled the threat to be stifled. Rhys Clarke and Cameron Regan were prominent in this aspect of the game, as was captain and Man of the Match Damien Hudd.
The final score was 36-8 to Ebbw Vale, and the players and coaches can now turn their thoughts to the visit of league leaders Pontypridd next Saturday (kicking off at 1:30).
One final thought: when your six front row players are Ross Jones, Joe Franchi, Gethin Robinson, Ian George, Mathew Williams and Rob Sevenoaks, and you know that any of the eight possible combinations is going to give the opposition a torrid time, you know you’re in a very good place.
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Ar brynhawn oer ym Mlaenau Gwent, roedd yr ymwelwyr, Llanelli, o dan bwys o’r cychwyn, a daeth y cais cyntaf i Lynebwy ar ôl 10 munud pan, ar ôl i’w dîm fynd trwy gymalau’n fyneddgar, estynnodd Ashley Sweet fraich hir i osod y bêl ar y llinell. Trosiodd Dan Haymond.
Pob clod i Lanelli – ymatebon nhw ar unwaith a gyda chwaraewyr Glynebwy yn camsefyll, aeth y maswr Josh Lewis am y gornel, i roi cyfle i’w flaenwyr fynd am y ‘dal a gyrru’. Gwethiodd y cynllun yn berffaith – basai pac Glynebwy yn falch iawn tasen nhw wedi cwblhau’r symudiad – a Trystan Lloyd yn sgorio. Gyda throsiad Lewis, 8-8 oedd y sgôr.
Roedd gweddill yr hanner gyntaf yn eitha cael a chael. Agwedd Llanelli oedd symud y bêl i’r asgell cyn aml ag y bo modd, ond roedd amddiffyn Glynebwy yn gadarn ac yn drefnus. Hefyd roedd blaenwyr y tîm cartref yn rheoli’r sgrymiau, ac yn creu cyfleodd i’r olwyr, cystal â chreu problemau i’r gwrthwynebwyr. Daeth ail gais Glynebwy i’r asgellwr David Williams, a 14-8 oedd hi i Lynebwy ar yr egwyl, gydag arwyddion bygythol yn dod yn amwlg o ran sgrym Llanelli.
Estynodd Glynebwy ei fantais yn gynnar yn yr ail hanner, gan ddefnyddio’r “Catch’n’Kynes’ enwog ac anochel i fynd â’r sgôr i 20-8. Roedd y Dynion Dur yn chwarae rygbi dwys erbyn hyn, a doedd Llanelli ddim yn gallu ymdopi – nid yn gyfreithlon, ta beth. Felly, daeth lwyth o gosbau i Lynewby, a chafon nhw eu gwobrwyo gyda cheisiau i Chris Thomas (am y pwynt bonws) a Chris Levelsey, yn dilyn gwaith gwych gan Chris Thomas ac Adam Jones. Trosiodd Iain Smerdon y ddau gais olaf, a 36-8 oedd y sgôr.
Chwarae teg i Lanelli: roedd y chwaraewyr yn rhoi cant y cant hyd at ddiwedd y gêm, ond roedd y tîm cartref yn rhy gryf a chyfundrefnol a doedd dim ffordd i’r ymwelwyr fylchu’r amddiffynion.
36-8 oedd y sgôr terfynol, ac aeth gwobr ‘Seren y Gêm’ i gapten Glynebwy, Damien Hudd, am berfformiad arwrol unwaith eto.
Ar ôl eu seithfed fuddugoliaeth yn olynol, dringodd Glynebwy i’r ail safle yng Nghynghrair y Principality – a’r ymwelwyr nesaf i Barc Eugene Cross bydd y tîm sydd ar frig y cynghrair, sef Pontypridd.