Ebbw suffered another heavy defeat at ECP on Friday night as Cross Keys scored five tries to the Steelmen’s three in a 34-20 win.
Ebbw started poorly, missing several opportunities to relieve early Keys pressure. This led to a try for the visitors’ skipper, Scott Matthews converted by Josh Prosser. Ebbw responded powerfully and only desperate defence by Keys kept them at bay. Eventually, desperation turned to illegality and Callum Hall took the chance to put his team on the board with a well-struck penalty. At 7-3 down, Ebbw continued to overwhelm Keys in the forward battle and a serious of dropped, wheeled and unbound scrums eventually earned a penalty try that gave the Steelmen a 10-7 lead. There was a strong case for a 1 man advantage too, but referee Wayne Davies chose not to issue a yellow card.
Keys regained their lead when Ebbw scrum-half Dan Babos, in his starting debut, looked to move the ball on his own 22 only for the alert Barney Nightingale to interest and trot to the try line. Prosser converted and Keys were 14-10 ahead. It wasn’t long before the lead was extended when Leon Andrews finished a slick but simple move. Prosser missed the conversion but was soon on target with a penalty, though Ebbw had every right to feel aggrieved as Keys had disintegrated at the scrum that began the passage of play. The visitors took a 22-10 lead into the break, and extended it immediately the second half started when Lewis Barnett burst through for the bonus point score. Prosser converted for 29-10.
Although their opponents were well ahead, Ebbw were dominant in the scrums and mauls, and used the latter to good effect in the 54th minute, setting up a classic Catch’n’Kynes try. Unfortunately, James Leadbeater scored from the restart to make it 34-15. Another great drive off a line out saw Joe Franchi claim the Steelmen’s third but, try as they might, Ebbw couldn’t quite bad a 4th which would have earned them at least one bonus point – some reward for a sterling forward effort in which European Heritage Man of the Match Rhys Francis, was one of several outstanding performers.
The challenge for Ebbw’s coaches, 2 months in to a 2-year project, is to get those talented backs to play nearer to their full potential. Behind a pack that is already among the very best in the Premiership, that would make Ebbw a real handful for anyone.
The Ebbw Vale team was:
Callum Hall, James Lewis, Srdan Majkic, Dom Franchi, Toby Fricker; Dai Langdon, Dan Babos; Ross Jones, Rhys Francis, Rob Sevenoaks; Lance Randall, Rhys Clarke; Cameron Regan, Ronny Kynes (capt), Jonathan Davies.
Bench: Ian George, Joe Franchi, Josh James, Kristian Parker, Owen Jones, Carl Lewis, Lewis Dennett, Will Holley.
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Unwaith eto, colli oedd hanes Glynebwy ar Barc Eugene Cross ar noson oer a llaith. Bu Cross Keys yn dechrau’n dda, gan ymosod ar eu gwahoddwyr o’r cic cyntaf. Bu gan Glynebwy gyfleoedd i godi’r pwysedd ond bu capten y Keys, Scotts Matthews yn sgorio cais cynnar, a Prosser yn trosi.
Chwarae teg i Lynebwy, fu’n ymateb yn gryf ac ar unwaith a bu rhaid i’r ymwelwyr droseddu er mwyn gwrthsefyll yr ymosodiadau. 7-3 oedd hi ar ôl cic cosb Callum Hall. Bu Keys yn ffaelu ymdopi â nerth sgrymio blaenwyr Glynebwy a, braidd yn anochel, bu’r dyfarnwr Mr Davies yn penderfynu taw digon yw digon ac yn rhoi cais cosb i Wŷr y Dur. Bu Keys yn ffodus iawn i gadw 14 o chwaraewyr ar y maes.
Bu Keys yn cipio’r fantais unwaith eto pan sgoriodd Barney Nightingale gais – yn eithaf ffodus yn rhyng-gipio pas Dan Babos yn nhiriogaeth Glynebwy ond pob clodd iddo am fod mor esgud. Trosiodd Prosser am 14-10, ac yn fuan iawn, aeth Leon Andrews drosodd am drydydd cais ei dîm yn dilyn symudiad syml ond effiethiol. Er bod Prosser yn ffaelu gyda’r trosiad, fuodd e ddim yn gwneud camgymeriad gyda chic cosb – er bod rheng flaen Keys yn lwcus iawn i osgoi cael eu cosbi am sefyll yn y sgrym eiliadau’n gynt. Ond, fel na mai, a bu’r Keys yn y blaen gan 22-10 ar yr egwyl.
Ymhen munud o ddechrau’r ail gyfnod, 29-10 oedd hi; Prosser yn trosi cais canolwr Lewis Barnett, a fu’n cipio pwynt bonws i’r ymwelwyr. Fel mae new wedi gwneud trwy’r tymor hyd yn hyn, bu pac Glynebwy yn goruchafu ar wyth eu gwrthwynebwyr yn a sgrym a’r sgarmes, a bu’r blaenwyr yn creu dau gais da trwy ‘Catch’a’Kynes’ hen ffasiwn a sgôr ola’r gêm gan yr eilydd bywiog o fachwr, Joe Franchi. Yn anffodus, rhwng y ddau gais, bu James Leadbeter yn sgorio i Keys, felly 34-10 oedd hi ar ddiwedd y nos.
Mae blaenwyr Glynebwy yn chwarae’n dda ac yn herio pob pac yn yr Uwchgynghrair. Yn anffodus ar hyn o bryd, mae olwyr Glynebwy yn chwarae heb hyder. Mae eu dawn a chyflymder yn ddiamheuol, ond mae ‘na ryw ddifyg trefn ac amynedd. Gobeithir bydd hynny’n gwella wrth i’r cynllun dwy flynedd ddatblygu.
Seren y Gêm oedd bachwr Rhys Francis.
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