Despite a hugely brave, committed defensive effort in a heavyweight contest that warmed the crowd on a a bitter night, Ebbw went down 20-0 to a big, abrasive Merthyr squad who also had to show great defence when Ebbw had them under pressure for long periods. An early penalty try for illegally stopping a maul gave the Ironmen a 7-0 half time advantage and two second half penalties by Matthew Jarvis who also converted Jay Baker’s short range try comprised Merthyr’s points.
On a night when everyone put his body on the line, several pushed Kristian Parker for his Man of the Match award, including Lewis Young, Toby Fricker, Joe Franchi and Paul King. To be fair, nobody in the 22 that played could be faulted. The defensive toll on Ebbw showed as they finished with a pack that included a flanker at lock and a hooker and wing in the back row. The two week break before the Llandovery match has come at just the right time.
The Ebbw team was:
Dan Haymond, Stef Thomas, Paul King, Rhys Jones, Toby Fricker; Josh Lewis, Sam Ireland; Ross Jones, Joe Franchi, Rob Sevenoaks; Kristian Parker, Lance Randall; Cameron Regan, Ronny Kynes (capt), Lewis Young.
Replacements: Rhys Francis, Joel Harries, Curtis Hicks, Rhys Clarke, Owen Young, Matthew Flanagan, Aneurin Owen, James Gahan.