On an afternoon as warm and sunny as any this summer, the Steelmen felt the heat at Church Bank as Llandovery ran riot, scoring 7 tries in racking up an astonishing 50-0 victory.
For 35 minutes, it was all even with both sides enjoying periods of promising attacks and good field positions. Then Llandovery went down to 14 men as prop Greg Cuniffe was given a yellow card by referee Ben Whitehouse for a late challenge. The Steelmen had already gained the upper hand in the scrums and must have fancied their chances of a driving maul from the lineout that would surely follow the penalty kick. Mice and men have learned how plans they’ve laid very carefully oft go belly up, and so it proved. Iain Smerdon’s kick drifted in field, Llandovery cleared and, within minutes found themselves leading, 8-0 when full back Will Thomas touched down. Incredibly, after such a tight start, they were 22-0 up by half time as impressive winger Aaron Warren and centre Rhodri Jones also crossed for tries.
If Ebbw were stunned by this stage, they were positively shell-shocked when their hosts scored the bonus point try just 5 minutes into the second half – and from that Ebbw speciality, the catch and drive. The home side sidn’t stop there; now realising that they had the measure of the Steelmen every time they ran at them, they did just that, and three more tries followed.
Ebbw’s players and supporters looked bewildered by it all. When was the last time we capitulated like that? When did we last concede 7 tries? When was the last time we saw back play of such pace, skill and vision? Llandovery were superb yesterday, but Ebbw were, to put it mildly, very disappointing and very disappointed. Still, onwards and upwards we move, sorting things out on Cae Canol in the week, ready for Cardiff’s visit to Eugene Cross Park next Saturday.
The Ebbw team was Jared Rosser, Steffan Jones, Nathan Preece, Dominic Franchi, Tom Watkins; Iain Smerdon, Luc Jones; Ian George, Rhys Buckley, Robert Sevenoaks; Joe Bartlett, Ashley Sweet (capt), Luke Crocker, Ronny Kynes, Harrison Keddie.
Bench: Joe Franchi, Ross Jones, Luke Leddington, Rhys Clarke, Cameron Regan, Chris Thomas, Dan Haymond, Jordan Howells.