Ebbw got their season back on the rails with a devastating first half performance to set up a 5-point win over Cardiff, who started the day in 4th place to Ebbw’s 5th. Playing ‘towards the beer’ Ebbw started tremendously and massive early pressure told when Cardiff conceded a penalty try for collapsing a maul, with Jevon Groves yellow carded. Ebbw’s 8-0 lead was soon doubled when, with ball off the top of a line out used quickly, neat passing sent Ronny Kynes in for Iain Smerdon to convert and stretch the margin to 16-0.
Ebbw’s pack had Cardiff under the cosh and it was no surprise when the pack pushed the visitors’ scrum off their own ball, Llowing Ethan Doyle to pick up and power over. Smerdon again goaled to take the score to 24-0. The bonus point was in the bag before the break, an authentic Catch’n’Kynes doing the business, and Smerdon’s boot taking it to 32-0 at the break.
We’ve often seen teams building a huge half time lead, only to sit back, go to sleep, take the foot off the gas (pick your own cliche) and allow opponents to bounce back. Such was the case here, and Cardiff began to put together some excellent phases, resulting in tries for Will Rees-Hole, Jonathan Edwards and replacement Robert Lewis. James Thomas converted two. Ebbw’s only points of the second half came via a Smerdon penalty, and the game finished 34-22.
A five point win over a team of Cardiff’s calibre is a great achievement, and to accomplish it after the humbling at Llandovery tells us a great deal about the character and honesty of the players.
There were some excellent performances for Ebbw, none more so than Man of the Match Tom Edwards.
15 Daniel Haymond, 14 David Williams, 13 Jordan Howells, 12 Nathan Preece, 11 Thomas Watkins; 10 Iain Smerdon, 9 Thomas Edwards; 1 Ross Jones, 2 Mathew Williams, 3 Gethin Robinson; 4 Damien Hudd (captain), 5 Ashley Sweet; 6 Harrison Keddie, 7 Ronny Kynes, 8 Ethan Doyle. Bench: 16 Joseph Franchi, 17 Ian George, 18 Robert Sevenoaks, 19 Joseph Bartlett, 20 Rhys Clarke, 21 James Hall, 22 Chris Levesley, 23 Steffan Jones.