If ever a scoreline failed to reflect a match, this was it. Although, arguably, Merthyr deserved to take the four points, they were only able to secure the victory when Ebbw Vale were reduced to 12 men as referee Mr Thomas brandished 3 yellow cards in a crazy 9 minute spell around the hour mark that saw Ebbw’s 20-16 lead become a 20-33 deficit. Merthyr had earlier also fallen foul of the referee, with Ed Siggery and Osian Davies sent to the sin bin. Yet this was never a dirty game; full-blooded and physical, certainly, but generally hard fought and compelling, with each team’s defence dominating and both goal kickers enjoying fruitful afternoons.
Lewis Dennett got the game’s first score, with a penalty on 7 minutes. Matthew Jarvis replied for Merthyr before Dennett was again successful. Merthyr took the lead when Ben Jones’ exquisite chip over Ebbw’s defence gave Harri Millard an easy touchdown. Jarvis converted for a 10-6 advantage. As the game ebbed and flowed, mainly between the 22s, the kickers exchanged further penalties to make it 13-12 to the Ironmen. In first half injury time, with Merthyr down to 14 men, a perfect catch and drive saw Rhys Francis cross to give the Steelmen an interval lead of 17-13.
Early second half penalties each way meant that the game was well balanced at 20-19 to Ebbw as the final quarter approached. And then it all went a bit mad! Merthyr took full advantage of those apparent Ebbw indiscretions and amassed 17 points to put the win beyond doubt.
After the game, Head Coach Lee Davies was honest and open with supporters at a clubhouse Q&A, reminding everyone that we’ve just started a two-year programme, with a large number of new players added to the experience that remains in the squad from previous campaigns. Patience is the key word this season!
Dan Haymond, Srdan Majkic, Dom Franchi, Dai Langdon, Toby Fricker; Lewis Dennett, Carl Lewis; Ross Jones, Rhys Francis, Rob Sevenoaks; Kristian Parker, Lance Randall; Rhys Clarke, Ronny Kynes (capt), Cameron Regan.
Bench: Mathew Williams, Joel Harries, Josh James, Joe Franchi, Owen Jones, Dai Jones, Callum Hall, Garyn Payne.
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O bryd i’w gilydd, mae canlyniad yn ffaelu adlewyrchu holl hanes y gêm ac, er bod y sgôr yn golygu taw buddugoliaeth eitha hawdd i Ferthyr oedd hyn, doedd hynny ddim yn wir. O bryd i’w gilydd, hefyd, mae penderfyniadau’r swyddogion yn cael effaith mawr ar ganlyniad y gêm, ac yr oedd hynny’n wir am y gêm hon.
Yn dilyn bore gwlyb ym Mlaenau’r Cymoedd, digon teg oedd y tywydd i groesawu’r ddau dîm i’r maes. Cael a chael oedd hi trwy’r hanner cyntaf, gyda Lewis Dennett a Matthew Jarvis yn cyfnewid ciciau cosb yn aml. Daeth cic bach pert iawn gan faswr Merthyr, Ben Jones, â chyfle i Harri Millard groesi am gais a drosiwyd gan Jarvis. Roedd Merthyr ar y blaen, 10-6. Wrth i llanw a thrai’r gem barhau, death ciciau cosb i Dennett a Jarvis tan, mewn amser ychwanegol a Merthyr yn chwarae gyda 14 o ddynion – Osian Davies yn y cell cosb – sgoriodd bachwr Rhys Francis gais i Lynebwy. 17-13 i Wyr y Dur oedd hi ar yr egwyl.
Bu’r gym yn y fantol yn ystod y trydydd chwarter – esgidiau mawr Dennett a Jarvis yn gwneud eu gwaith yn dda iawn, a 20-16 oedd y sgôr wrth i’r chwarter olaf nesau. Yn sydyn, aeth popeth yn wallgof â’r dyfarnwr, Mr Rhys Thomas yn penderfynu rhoi tri cherdyn melyn i Lynebwy. Yn chwarae yn erbyn 12 o wrthwynebwyr, bu Merthyr yn canfod digon o wagle a digon o ddynion sbâr i sgorio 17 pwynt (cais cosb, cais i Siggery, trosiad a chic cosb i Jarvis). 33-20 oedd y sgôr terfynol; Merthyr yn haeddu’r fuddugoliaeth, efallai,
ond Glynebwy yn haeddu rhywbeth mas o’r gêm hefyd.
Bydd rhaid i chwaraewyr a hyfforddwyr Gwyr y Dur ganolbwyntio’n ddwys ar ddisgyblaeth cyn y gêm nesaf, a hefyd bydd rhaid iddynt addasu’n gyflym i ddehongliadau’r swyddogion, sy’n newid fesul gêm.
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