Ebbw continued their Arms Park winning streak, cruising to a 20-3 lead and dominating the first hour, before a very spirited fightback saw Cardiff come within an Assistant Referee’s call of winning the game deep in injury time. Ebbw supporters, who have long since run out nails to chew, greeted the final whistle with relief and delight in pretty equal measure.
Ebbw attacked Cardiff from the off and pressure was turned to points through two Dai Langdon penalties before the outside half’s perfect flat pass sent winger Toby Fricker under the posts. With Langdon’s conversion, Ebbw led 13-0 and looked to be about to extend their advantage when James Lewis, playing on the wing, ran at Cardiff’s last defender who made a great tackle. Lewis landed heavily and play was stopped for some time before he was able to regain his feet and, thankfully, walk off the pitch. His teammates turned around 13-0 up.
Cardiff’s outside half, Gareth Thompson, put his side on the scoreboard with a penalty. Langdon’s great break,chip ahead, gather and miraculous pass to Luke Shore saw the Newbridge and former Ebbw Fawr Learning Community student score a try on his first Premiership start for the Steelmen. Landgon converted and Ebbw were comfortably ahead at 20-3.
Cardiff, bested in every aspect of play up until that point, began to raise their game and came back strongly at Ebbw to dominate the final quarter. Lock Joe Miles and Number 8 Tom Daley were especially prominent. At 20-17, and in injury time, Cardiff pressed close to the Ebbw line and appeared to have scored the winning try, only for the officials to confer and award a penalty against Cardiff for crossing. Some present felt that there were several other offences, by both sides, that could have been penalised but, unlike Wednesday’s concluding chapter against Merthyr, this had a happy ending for the men in red, green and white.
Question: when did Cardiff last beat Ebbw Vale at the Arms Park?
Luke Shore, James Lewis, Paul King, Dom Franchi, Toby Fricker; Dai Langdon, Sam Ireland; Joel Harries, Joe Franchi, Curtis Hicks; Kristian Parker, Lance Randall; Cameron Reagan, Ronny Kynes, Lewis Young.
Bench: Rhys Francis, Ross Jones, Rob Sevenoaks, Owen Young, Matthew Flanagan, Callum Hall, James Gahan, Srdan Makjic.
Many thanks to Aberdare, Blaenavon, Llanelli and Newbridge RFCs for granting permits.