Ebbw progressed to round 2 of the Specsavers National Cup winning by the comfortable margin of 39-17, though Narberth were far from easy opponents and put together some good passages of play that had the Steelmen defending hard at times.
It’s not possible to mention Narberth RFC without thinking of two things: the final game of the 1994-95 season, when Ebbw visited, needing a win to ensure promotion to the top flight of Welsh club rugby, then called Division One; and the final game of the 2013-14 Championship season, when Ebbw were looking for their 26th win in 26 matches. Both outcomes are well known, the first a success, the second a failure, but it’s been too long since we met the Otters on the field of play.
It was like the height of summer at ECP, the temperature touching 70F and the sun blazing in a cloudless sky. Ebbw looked too hot to handle in the first 15 minutes, running in tries by Dan Haymond and Paul King, with Haymond adding a penalty to take the Steelmen 13-0 ahead. Narberth hit back and were within 3 of the hosts after a try by Josh Davies and a conversion and penalty by Nick gale. It was as close as the Otters got, as Sam Ireland scored from Cameron Regan’s pick up and pass of a scrum 5 and a Catch’n’Rubasniak try, converted by Haymond, to give Ebbw a 25-10 interval lead.
Lance Randall and Man of the Match Dan Hill added second half tries for the Steelmen, with Haymond goaling both and the final score came from Narberth, with Joe Hutchins converting Rhodri Owen’s touchdown.
The coaches will have been pleased with the result and will be looking forward to a week of intense preparation ahead of what is likely to be a much trickier afternoon at the Wern against champions Merthyr next Saturday.
The team was:
Dan Haymond, Paul King, Dom Franchi, Dai Langdon (Capt.), Ewan Rosser; Ethan Phillips, Sam Ireland; Ross Jones, Rhys Francis, Rob Sevenoaks; Dan Hill, Lance Randall: Craig Fillier, Daweed Rubasniak, Cameron Regan.
Bench: Mikhail Blake, Luke Garrett, Morgan Davies, Joe Franchi, Harry Harding, Dai Jones, Matthew Flanagan, Dafydd Thomas.