The first ever ‘top flight’ meeting between these two Heads of the Valleys teams was a cracking encounter that kept everyone enthralled until the final whistle.
Merthyr started brilliantly, catching Ebbw cold and flat footed to build a 20-0 lead at a point per minute – an ominous sign for the visitors. Great combination in midfield saw tries for Kyle Evans and (a candidate for Try of the Week) former Ebbw scrum half, Rhys Downes, both converted by Matthew Jarvis, who added two penalties.
It was imperative that Ebbw score next and a series of offences by the home side gave Damien Hudd and his men chances to do so. Chris Thomas darted in for the touchdown that Josh Lewis converted, and the Steelmen appeared to be in the ascendancy when Lewis added a 40m penalty shot to make the score 20-10. However, a second try by Downes, converted by Jarvis, gave Merthyr a 27-10 advantage as the teams trooped off for their clementines and lapsang souchong.
Ebbw were by far the better team in the second half and Josh Lewis scored the try of the match – and a contender for Try of the Season – when he ran from his own 22m area, past, around and through would-be Merthyr tacklers to score. He converted to bring the score to 27-17 and finished off a slick backs move soon afterwards that saw Ebbw right back in it at 27-22. Jarvis was next to score, his excellent long penalty soon cancelled out by another from Lewis. With the score at 30-25, it was all to play for: both sides going for the win and for bonus points. Ebbw’s scrummaging dominance really told and, on other days, their opponents’ penalty tally might have seen somebody having a 10-minute break. As injury time approached, an enormous shot by Jarvis from inside his own half took Ebbw’s losing bonus away and, deep in injury time, Merthyr broke down their left and Downes crossed for his hat-trick to give his side the win and the bonus.
This was a much better performance by the Steelmen – the first quarter aside – with the back row of Josh Jacas, Ronny Kynes and Rhys Clarke showing up particularly well. It was also good to see Ethan Doyle and Joe Franchi getting extended game time, albeit in the unfortunate circumstance of injuries to Ashley Sweet and Mathew Williams.
There’s now a break from league action until the 25th, when Ebbw face Pontypridd on the plastic at Sardis Road.
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Gêm ardderchog oedd hon, y gêm gyntaf yn yr Uwch Gynghrair rhwng y ddau dîm, ac roedd pawb ar bigau’r drain tan y chwiban olaf.
Dechreuodd Merthyr yn wych, gan adeiladu mantais o 20-0 yn y chwarter cyntaf wrth i Kyle Evans a cyn-mewnwr Glynebwy, Rhys Downes, fynd drosodd am geisiadau. Bu cefnwr Matthew Jarvis, cynt o’r Gweilch, yn llwyddo gyda’r trosiadau, a dau gic cosb hefyd.
Roedd pwyntiau’n hollbwysig i Wyr y Dur os oedden nhw am ddod i mewn i’r gêm. Daeth llwyth o giciau cosb i Damien Hudd a’i flaenwyr wrth iddyn nhw roi Merthyr o dan bwysedd, ac aeth Chris Thomas drosodd am gais a droswyd gan Josh Lewis. Roedd y maswr yn taro’r nod unwaith eto gyda chic cosb 40m. 20-10 oedd hi, ac roedd cefnogwyr swnllyd Glynebwy, oedd wedi teithio’n llu, yn mawr gobeithio bod y llanw wedi’i droi. Yn anffodus iddyn nhw, daeth Merthyr yn ôl cyn yr egwyl i sgorio cais gan Downes – yn eithaf ffodus, efallai, ar ôl i’r swyddogion ffaelu gweld trosedd digon amlwg gan un o’r reng flaen. Ta beth, “fel ‘na mai” a 27-10 oedd hi ar yr egwyl.
Goruchafodd Glynebwy’r ail hanner a sgoriodd Josh Lewis gais bendigedig, gan redeg o’i ardal 22m, yn ochrgamu, yn ffugo ac yn garlamu heibio a thrwy amddiffynwyr am un o loriadau gorau’r tymor – unrhyw dymor – siwr o fod. Gyda’r trosiad, 27-17 oedd hi ond doedd Lewis ddim wedi cwpla: ei ail gais yn gwneud y sgôr yn 27-22, ac wedyn fe a Jarvis yn cyfnewid cic cosb am gic cosb am 30-25.
Erbyn hyn, roedd blaenwyr cryf, cadarn Glynebwy yn cael y llaw drechaf ar eu gwrthwynebwyr ond roedd olwyr Merthyr dal yn fygythiad gyda’r bêl yn eu dwlo. Cael a chael oedd hi tan y munudau olaf, pan laniodd Jarvis gig cosb enfawr ac wedyn, mewn amser anafiadau, aeth Downes drosodd am ei drydydd gais. 38-25 oedd y sgôr ar ddiwedd gêm arbennig o dda.
Pob clod i Ferthyr, ond hefyd i Lynebwy. Roedd blaenwyr Josh Jacas, Rhys Clarke a Ronny Kynes yn neilltuol, a braf oedd cael gweld Joe Franchi ac Ethan Doyle yn manteisio ar eu cyfleoedd hefyd.
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