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Match Reports 2023/24 

All Reports by Alex Kinsella-Evans

06/04/24

Ebbw claim another 5 pointer

Ebbw Vale RFC 41 Aberavon RFC 8

Ebbw Vale secured a place in the play offs with two games to spare, after claiming a bonus point victory at home against Aberavon.

The hosts were quick out of the blocks. A penalty within minutes of kick off by full back Evan Lloyd saw the home side take an early lead.

With the Steelmen well on top, a dangerous break by scrum half Rory Harries from around the half way line saw the scrum half carve open the away sides defence. With just the full back to beat, Harries drew the man and attempted to pass inside to support runners, only for Aberavon’s full back Steff Andrews to knock the ball on. Referee Gareth Newman adjudged the away sides full back to have deliberately knocked the ball on and showed Andrews a yellow card and awarded Ebbw a penalty try.

Moments later the home side extended their lead further. An excellent break by winger Ryan Gardner took Ebbw Vale into the Aberavon half. Quick ball out to the backs saw centre Ethan Phillips make a further break and pass to full back Evan Lloyd to cross the line. Lloyd successfully added the two points to put the hosts twenty points in the lead.

With the wind behind them, two successful penalties by Lloyd saw the Steelmen go into the half time interval with a twenty six point lead.

Half Time: Ebbw Vale RFC 26 Aberavon RFC 0

The away side came out for the second half and started to gain some time with the ball and territory. Within minutes of the restart Aberavon outside half James Davies got his  sides first points of the game from a penalty.

Ebbw Vale full back Lloyd successfully kicked a penalty for Ebbw to put his side back in front by 26 points.

The Steelmen’s coach Jason Strange replaced scrum half Rory Harries with Jon Evans and moments later the front row of Morgan Davies, Joe Franchi and Adam Court were replaced by Luke Garrett, Ieuan Morris and Owen Hatherill. Further changes by Strange saw centre Dom Franchi come off for Cameron Davies and Morgan Richards came on for Kieran Meek.

Midway through the second half Aberavon scored their first try of the afternoon. A good team break saw winger Chris Banfield finish off the move in the corner. Fly half Davies was unable to add the extras.

Ebbw responded within ten minutes. Quick ball from a ruck inside the Aberavon twenty-two saw the ball go out to Lewis Young on the wing. With supporting players inside him, Young dived over the line to score his sides third try of the afternoon. Lloyd was unsuccessful with the conversion from out wide.

Further changes by Ebbw saw second row Dylan Bartlett leave the field to be replaced by Jakub Malecki and flanker Ben Main came off for Rhys Francis, who was playing in an unfamiliar position.

With the final play of the game, Ebbw had control of the ball just inside the visitor’s half. Quick ball out to Ethan Phillips saw the centre make a clean break and go over the try line under the posts unopposed to score the Steelmen’s bonus point try. Evan Lloyd kicked the conversion with the final kick of the ball.

Full Time: Ebbw Vale RFC 41 Aberavon RFC 8

Man Of The Match: Curtis Gregory

Tries: Penalty try, Evan Lloyd, Lewis Young, Ethan Phillips

Conversions: Evan Lloyd (3)

Penalties: Evan Lloyd (5)

 

30/3/24

Ebbw claim five points on the road

Swansea RFC 17 Ebbw Vale RFC 24

The Steelmen came away from St Helens with a bonus point victory after an entertaining game was played in weather conditions that changed during the afternoon.

The visitors surged into an early lead, after good play by the forwards in the hosts twenty-two, saw scrum half Jon Evans send the ball out wide for winger Ewan Bowden to go over out wide for the games first try. Full back for the day Evan Lloyd was unsuccessful with the conversion.

The away side soon doubled their try tally. From first phase ball off the top of the lineout just outside the All Whites twenty-two, the Ebbw Vale forwards took the game to the home side. With each forward surge making inroads inside the hosts twenty-two, second row Dylan Barlett collected a pass and barged over the try line to score. Full back Lloyd added the extras.

With the Swansea backs starting to get some ball, an excellent break by full back Harri Houston from inside his own half, saw the number fifteen glide through the Ebbw defence. With one man to beat, the fullback drew his man and passed to supporting winger Llien Morgan to go over unopposed for a well taken try. Outside half Luke Scully successfully kicked the conversion.

However, the Steelmen were to respond immediately. With an improved lineout going well, the ball made its way out to outside centre Ethan Phillips. With a lot still to do, the centre showed his gas to go over the try line untouched from around the halfway line to score an excellent individual try. On this occasion Lloyd was unable to add the two points.

The final score of the half was to come from the boot of the All Whites fly half Luke Scully to bring his side within seven points of the away side. With the hosts looking likely to score a try in the visitors twenty-two, referee Ben Connor awarded the hosts a penalty and showed Ebbw Vale scrum half Jon Evans a yellow card for ill-discipline.

Half Time: Swansea RFC 10 Ebbw Vale RFC 17

The second half started with both sides taking it to each other. Referee Connor awarding penalties to both sides. However, neither side were able to take advantage and add to the scoreline.

The Steelmen’s coach Jason Strange decided to replace Co-captain Rhys Francis and prop Morgan Davies with fellow co-captain Joe Franchi and Luke Garrett.

With Swansea seeing more and more of the ball and territory, Ebbw coach Strange made further changes with prop Owen Hatherill replacing Adam Court and flankers Ewan McIntyre and Lewis Young coming on for Ben Main and Cameron Regan.

The All Whites soon brought the game level. Patient play by the home side saw centre Tom Florence score the first try of the afternoon. Fly half Scully levelled the score.

The Ebbw Vale replacements were starting to make their mark, especially in the scrum. After a good team move in the hosts twenty-two, referee Connor awarded Swansea centre Florence a yellow card for stopping what looked like a certain try illegally.

With the visitors getting the upper hand in the scrum and the referee awarding the away side penalty after penalty, the Steelmen were to score the decisive try. With a dominant pack pushing the scrum, quick ball out to the backs by scrum half Evans saw outside half Kieran Meek put in a lovely chip kick into space out wide for returning winger Ryan Gardner to catch the ball and score Ebbw’s bonus point try. Lloyd successfully kicked the conversion from a difficult angle.

With Swansea camping themselves in the Ebbw Vale twenty-two and pushing to try and bring the game level, the away side’s coach Strange made his side’s final change of the afternoon by replacing scrum half Jon Evans with Rory Harries.

Despite late sustained pressure by the All whites, the home side were unable to take advantage and referee Connor brought the game to a close.

Full Time: Swansea RFC 17 Ebbw Vale RFC 24

Tries: Ewan Bowden (1), Dylan Bartlett (1), Ethan Phillips (1), Ryan Gardner (1)

Conversions: Evan Lloyd (2)

 

 

 

27/01/24

Ebbw Score Try Bonanza

Ebbw Vale RFC 73 Neath RFC 5

The Steelmen ran in eleven tries in a one-sided contest in a game where Cameron Regan captained Ebbw on his 200th appearance.

The hosts came out on the front foot and scored their first try within the opening four minutes. An excellent chip through, saw full back Morgan Richards collect the ball and score out wide. Outside half Evan Lloyd was unsuccessful in adding the two points.

Ebbw soon scored their second try of the afternoon. Good work by the forwards, saw second row Dylan Barlett pick up the ball and drive over the line. Fly half Lloyd successfully kicked the conversion.

With the home side having total dominance, Ieuan Morris got his name on the scoresheet after a catch and drive from a lineout within the Neath twenty-two in the twenty third minute. Lloyd again added the two points to make the score 19-0 to the Steelmen.

The Steelmen collected a try scoring bonus point moments later. After good play by the forwards, a chip over the defence by outside half Lloyd saw centre Ethan Phillips collect the ball and hand off three players before powering over the line to score. Lloyd successfully kicked the conversion.

With Neath unable to get out of their own twenty-two, the hosts scored their fifth try of the afternoon a minute before the break. From a scrum on the away side five metre line, scrum half Rory Harries picked up the ball from the back of the scrum, ran at the defence and stretched his arm out over the line to score his first try of the afternoon. Lloyd was unable to add the extras from out wide.

Half Time: Ebbw Vale RFC 31 Neath RFC 0

Within five minutes of the restart, Ebbw Vale’s Rory Harries added to his try tally. After being awarded a penalty on the halfway line, quick thinking by the scrum half, saw Harries take a quick tap and run in under the posts unattended. Number ten Lloyd added the two points.

Minutes later the hosts were reduced to fourteen when outside half Evan Lloyd was sent to the sin bin by English referee Jack Moorhouse for ten minutes after a no arms tackle.

The Steelmen’s coach Jason Strange made his first changes of the afternoon after fifty-two minutes. Joint club captain Joe Franchi replaced hooker Ieuan Morris, flanker Ben Main came off for Lewis Young and number eight Ryan Jenkins came on for Alex Howes.

The visitors took advantage of their numerical supremacy by scoring a well taken try. Inside the hosts twenty-two quick passes out wide to Louis Rees, saw the winger speed over in the corner. However, the conversion was unsuccessful by no.10 Steff Williams.

Substitute Joe Franchi made an instant impact. Within a minute of coming on, the hooker added his name to the scoresheet. From a lineout in the Neath half, a catch and drive ended with Franchi diving on the line to score his sides seventh try of the afternoon. With Lloyd off, Kieran Meek was successful with his first kick of the afternoon.

Ebbw Vale scrum half Harries scored his hat trick of tries in the fifty-six minute. A break by hooker Franchi, saw the co-captain pass to the scrum half, who used his strength to go over. Meek again added two extra points.

Home side coach Strange replaced props Luke Garrett and Adam Court with Morgan Davies and Owen Hatherill, Ewan McIntyre replaced captain Cameron Regan and moments later Dom Franchi came on for winger Jordan Thomas.

Five minutes later, a precise kick through saw home centre Phillips collect the ball, draw the covering defender and send Harries over the line who popped the ball to Evan Lloyd to score. Fly half Lloyd added the two points.

With Neath throwing the ball out to the wing on the halfway line, centre Keiran Meek intercepted the ball and showed a clean pair of heels to go under the posts un to score the hosts tenth try of the afternoon.

Scrum half Jon Evans replaced Rory Harries for the Steelmen’s last change of the game.

With four minutes left on the clock, the experienced scrum half saw a gap down the blind side. With winger Ewan Bowden on his shoulder, the scrum half passed to the winger. With two defenders in front of him, Bowden put in a well weighted kick to out pace his opposite number, get to the ball before the covering full back and chip ahead to dive on the ball over the line. Outside half Lloyd scored the last two points of the game.

Full Time: Ebbw Vale RFC 73 Neath RFC  5

 

Tries: Rory Harries (3), Joe Franchi (1), Ieaun Morris (1), Morgan Richards (1), Ewan Bowden (1), Ethan Phillips (1), Dylan Bartlett (1), Kieran Meek (1) Evan Lloyd (1)

Conversions: Evan Lloyd (7) Kieran Meek (2)

 

20/01/24

Drovers Take the Spoils in Top of the Table Clash

Llandovery RFC 17 Ebbw Vale RFC 15

The Steelmen narrowly lost to the Drovers in a physical hard-fought top of the table clash at Church Bank on Saturday by 17 -15.

Playing against the elements in the first half, the Steelmen dominated territory and possession but were unable to turn their dominance into points on the scoreboard, leading by only 3-0 from an Evan Lloyd penalty after 25 minutes.

The Drovers then scored two tries through a close-range effort by Hooker Craig Thomas and a penalty try following an illegal tackle by full back Morgan Richards on winger Adam Warren as the first half came to its conclusion to give Llandovery a 14 points to 3 lead at half time.

Half Time Score

Llandovery RFC 14 Ebbw Vale RFC 3

Despite the half time score, the Steelmen, playing with the elements, were confident of overturning the half time deficit. However the first points of the 2nd half were to come from Llandovery kicker Jack Maynard to extend the Drover’s lead to 14 points (17-3)

The Steelmen started to get a foothold in the game again putting pressure on the Drovers team upfront through scrum and driving maul. After 51 minutes, Jason Strange made his first change with Harry Drane replacing Adam Court in the front row. The Steelmen were soon awarded a penalty try of their own after Llandovery collapsed a driving maul before Dylan Bartlett also crashed over the line to make the score 17 -15. Evan Lloyd was unable to add the conversion to make the scores level.

Further changes for the Steelmen were Luke Garrett replacing Morgan Davies and Cameron Regan coming onto the field of Ewan McIntyre after 58 minutes and Ryan Jenkins and Ieuan Morris replacing Alex Howes and Joe Franchi for the final 10 minutes.

The Steelmen continued to pile on the pressure in the Drover’s half and were awarded successive penalties which unfortunately kicker Evan Lloyd was unable to send through the uprights to give the Steelmen the lead.

The Drovers were able to hold on for victory with the Steelmen picking up a bonus point for their efforts.

Full Time Score

Llandovery RFC 17 Ebbw Vale RFC 15

Scorers:

Tries: Dylan Bartlett, Penalty Try

Pens Evan Lloyd

 

06/01/24

Ebbw’s unbeaten home run comes to an end

Ebbw Vale RFC 9 Cardiff RFC 23

Cardiff brought the Steelmen’s unbeaten home run this season to an end on a cold winter’s day.

The home side took the lead early on through an Evan Lloyd penalty. However, the visitors soon brought the game level through outside half Harrison James.

The Rags were reduced to fourteen men just before the half hour mark, after flanker Nathan Hudd was sent to the sin bin for ten minutes.

With the home side trying to get a foothold in the game, scrum half Jon Evans saw a gap in the away sides defence. With a two man overlap outside him, the experienced scrum half decided to go alone. However, the play came to nothing.

With no further scores being added to the scoreboard, the referee Ben Breakspear blew his whistle to make it all square at half time.

Half Time: Ebbw Vale RFC 3 Cardiff RFC 3

The hosts were soon back in front shortly after the restart, after marksman Lloyd was successful with a penalty.

The away side soon drew level again with a penalty. However, Lloyd was again on hand to kick his third penalty of the afternoon to put Ebbw back in front.

Ebbw Vale coach Jason Strange started to make the changes and replaced props Harry Drane and Morgan Davies with Adam Court and Luke Garrett.

The first try of the game was scored by the away side. A breakthrough the defence by the Rags centre and offload led to the ball being passed to replacement scrumhalf Jamie Hill, who went over out wide. The visitors were unable to add the extra two points.

The hosts coach Strange made further changes. Winger Amir Jiwa Walji was replaced by Ewan Bowden, forwards Ewan McIntyre and Kobi Rees replaced Cameron Regan and Owen Conquer, Rory Harries came on for Jon Evans, hooker Ieuan Morris replaced Joe Franchi and Kieran Meek replaced centre Dom Franchi.

With Cardiff having the momentum and a scrum in the Steelmen’s twenty-two, quick possession from the scrum saw the home defence hold tight. Quick recycling of the ball, saw it land at the hands of Ethan Phillips, who powered through the defence and over the try line to extend the visitors lead. Jacob Lloyd successful kicked the conversion.

Deep into injury time the away side scored their third try of the game. From a driving maul in the Ebbw twenty-two, the ball went through the hands and out wide to winger Dewi Cross who crossed for the final points of the game.

Full Time: Ebbw Vale RFC 9 Cardiff RFC 23  

Ebbw Addicts Man Of The Match: Dom Franchi

Scorers :Penalties: Evan Lloyd (3)

 

 

30/12/23

Ebbw do the double over Ponty

Pontypridd RFC 25 Ebbw Vale RFC 26

Jason Strange’s team put in a terrific last twenty minutes to make the unlikeliest comeback possible against a fully committed Pontypridd team.

The away side made a fast start. From a strong rolling maul, co club captain Joe Franchi touched down inside the first ten minutes to score the games first try. The league’s top points scorer Evan Lloyd was unable to add the extras.

Ponty hit back straight away. A miss-pass by the hosts number ten Ben Burnell inside the Steelmen’s twenty-two saw winger McCauley Rowley go over the line to score the home side’s first try of the afternoon. Full Back Josh Phillips added the two points to put his side into the lead.

Pontypridd extended their lead further when from a grubber kick in the centre of the field, an awkward bounce of the ball, saw the covering defence beaten. Home winger and ex Ebbw player Liam Lloyd collected the ball to touch down unopposed. Phillips successfully kicked the conversion.

The hosts full back Phillips extended his team’s lead to fifteen points by kicking two penalties within minutes of each other.

Against the run of play, the visitors started to apply pressure. Despite running good angles and lines, the away side were unable to score any further points in the first half due to a solid Pontypridd defence holding firm.

Half Time: Pontypridd RFC 20 Ebbw Vale RFC 5

The second half started like the first half ended, with the away side spending time in Ponty’s twenty-two. Again, good defence and turnovers of the ball resulted in the home side ensuring no further points were initially scored.

Ebbw Vale coach Strange, started to ring the changes. Scrum half Rory Harries was replaced by Jon Evans, Prop Morgan Davies came on for Luke Garrett and Kobi Rees replaced Lewis Young.

The home side extended their lead to twenty points within minutes. A kick through from the halfway line saw the ball evade the Steelmen’s defence. Pontypridd winger McCauley collected the ball, drew the last man and sent centre Ryan Wilkins over to score the hosts third try of the game. However, on this occasion Phillips missed the conversion.

With the away side having nothing to lose, the forwards started to take the game to their opponents. Despite being inside the home side’s twenty-two, experienced scrum half Jon Evans saw the space out wide and threw a pass to winger Carrick McDonough. With plenty still to do the winger side stepped his opponent and sped over the line to score Ebbw’s second try of the game. Fly half Lloyd successfully added the two points.

Further changes to the Ebbw Vale side saw hooker Joe Franchi replaced by Ieuan Morris, Prop Harry Drane came off for Owen Hatherill, Ewan McIntyre came on for Owen Conquer and the final substitution saw centre Dom Franchi be replaced by Amir Jiwa-Walji.

With ten minutes left in the game, the visitors turned the game on its head. With an improvement in the lineout, the forwards set up an unstoppable rolling maul, ending with replacement Ieuan Morris touching down. Number ten Lloyd kicked the conversion to bring the game to within a score.

Within five minutes the decisive try was scored. With the grit between their teeth, the Ebbw forwards kept applying pressure and nearly scored themselves. Just short of the tryline and at the ruck, experienced scrum half Jon Evans saw a gap and dived over to score a well taken try and the away side’s forth try of the game. Lloyd added the two points to put the Steelmen one point ahead.

However, the drama had not finished there. From a penalty at the scrum inside the visitor’s half, Pontypridd full back Phillips stepped up with only minutes left. On this occasion the kick went wide and Ebbw saw out the game to come away with what looked like the unlikeliest of wins after sixty minutes.

Credit to both teams, who never gave up and served an excellent final game of the year for both sides.

Full Time: Pontypridd RFC 25 Ebbw Vale RFC 26

Tries: Joe Franchi (1), Carrick McDonough (1), Ieuan Morris (1), Jon Evans (1)

Conversions: Evan Lloyd (3)

 

23/12/23

Ebbw Score Seven

Ebbw Vale RFC 50 Merthyr RFC 31

The Steelmen served up a Christmas cracker five-star performance to score fifty points for the second Saturday running.

An error by the hosts straight from the kick off saw the visitors take full advantage. With Ebbw unable to keep hold of the ball, some quick play saw the Ironmen score out wide. Merthyr was unsuccessful with the conversion.

Ebbw Vale soon got into their stride. Captain Joe Franchi opted for a scrum after being awarded consecutive penalties inside the away side’s twenty-two. From the second scrum, quick ball out to the backs saw full back Morgan Richards score his first try of the game. Fly half Evan Lloyd added the extra two points.

Further pressure in the scrum inside the away side half saw the hosts win yet another penalty. Outside half Lloyd sent the kick through the uprights to extend his teams lead to five points.

The home side were reduced to fourteen men when winger Carrick McDonough was sent to the sin bin for ten minutes by referee Adam Jones after a chip over the defence saw the Merthyr outside half collect the ball and kick it back downfield. Totally out of character the Ebbw Vale player took out the visiting player late to receive a yellow card.

The Ironmen made their numerical advantage count by exploiting the lack of cover on the wing. Fly half Thompson`s grubber kicked through to touch down unopposed under the posts. The number ten followed up his try with the conversion to put Merthyr two points in front.

With the home side back to fifteen men, the forwards started to apply the pressure. After going through the phases, number eight Alex Howes kept up his good recent run to power over the line to score. Lloyd successfully added the extras.

A well weighted chip over the Ironmen’s defence by the hosts outside half Lloyd, saw winger Harry Rhys-Weldon collect the ball. With a covering defender still to beat, the young winger did well to draw the defender, stay in play and offload to the supporting Ethan Phillips to score out wide. Top points scorer Lloyd superbly sent the conversion through the posts.

Ebbw increased their lead further when from a lineout, quick, crisp passing between the backs saw full back Richards enter the line. With a lot still to do, the full back powered through four separate tackles to touch down for his second try of the game.

Half Time: Ebbw Vale RFC 31 Merthyr RFC 12

The home side came out for the second half determined not to take their foot off the pedal. After being awarded a penalty in the Merthyr twenty-two, captain Franchi opted for another scrum. From the scrum, further quick ball out to the backs saw centre Phillips add to his tally by touching down out wide. Number ten Lloyd was unsuccessful with the conversion.

With the Steelmen dominant, referee Jones showed Merthyr lock Tom Davies a yellow card for ill-discipline. Ebbw took advantage of having an additional man. From the scrum the forwards took the ball forward. After phase after phase and just metres short, scrum half Jonathan Evans threw the ball out wide to centre Phillips. With a man outside him, Phillips darted through the gap to score a hat trick of tries. Sharpshooter Lloyd added the two points.

Ebbw Vale coach Jason Strange started to ring the changes. Prop Adam Court was replaced by Harry Drane and captain Joe Franchi came off for Ieuan Morris.

The home side kept up the pressure. From a scrum after a knock on by the visitors, full back Richards scored his third and Ebbw’s seventh try of the game out wide. An excellent conversion from the touchline by Lloyd brought up the fifty points for the hosts.

Steelmen coach Strange replaced scrum half Jonathan Evans with Rory Harries, fly half Evan Lloyd came off for Keiran Meek, Carrick McDonough was replaced by Amir Jiwa-Walji, Ewan McIntyre replaced Lewis Young and Dylan Barlett came off for Jakub Malecki.

Merthyr did not give up, despite the scoreline. Pressure by the away side nearly resulted in the ball reaching the wing, however Harry Rhys-Weldon got to the ball first and the ball went into touch. Discussing with his officials, referee Jones showed the young winger a yellow card for deliberately knocking the ball into touch and awarded the away side a penalty try.

A nasty looking tackle on home replacement prop Harry Drane brought the game to a standstill. However, with the officials believing the tackle was fair, the away side were awarded a scrum. With the ball in their twenty-two and the hosts down to thirteen men due to an injury to inside centre Dom Franchi, the Ironmen put width on the ball. With a two man advantage, Merthyr took full advantage and scored a well taken length of the pitch try through Ex Ebbw player Josh Lewis. Lewis followed up his try by adding the extra’s.

Ebbw Vale final replacement Owen Hatherall came on for the injured Franchi and a rejig to the backline saw forward McIntyre spend some tine out on the wing.

The final play of the game saw Merthyr score their fifth try out wide after taking a quick penalty. However, they were unable to kick the conversion and referee Jones blew his whistle to bring the game to an end.

Ebbw Vale RFC 50 Merthyr RFC 31

Tries: Morgan Richards (3), Ethan Phillips (3), Alex Howes (1)

Conversions: Evan Lloyd (6)

Penalty: Evan Lloyd (1)

 

 

 

16/12/23

Ebbw Hit The Fifty-Point Mark

Ebbw Vale RFC 54 Carmarthen Quins 24

The hosts put in a dominant performance to secure a bonus point victory by scoring 8 tries.

The Steelmen came out of the blocks strongly and soon scored their first points of the game. After being awarded consecutive penalties, captain Rhys Francis opted for a scrum inside the Quins twenty-two. Number eight Alex Howes picked up the ball and went over the try lined unopposed to score his sides first try of the game. Prolific points scorer Evan Lloyd successfully kicked the conversion.

The home side quickly backed the try up with another. From a much-improved lineout the ball made its way to winger Amir Jiwa-Walji. A clean break by the winger saw Jiwa-Walji draw the defender and pass to supporting runner Rory Harries, who charged over the line to touch down. Fly half Lloyd again successfully added the two points.

With the home side on top a scrum to Carmarthen on the halfway line, saw a loose pass go into space. Ebbw Vale speedster Carrick McDonough, back playing on the wing, picked up the ball and showed a clean pair of heels to touch down under the posts. Lloyd again added the extra two points.

The Ebbw Vale scrum was dominant. With the away side putting into the scrum inside their half, the referee awarded the Steelmen a penalty. A kick to the corner by Lloyd saw the hosts have a lineout. From which, the forwards set up a maul which resulted in captain Francis dotting down over the line to score his teams bonus point try. On this occasion fly half Lloyd was unable to add the extra two points.

Half Time: Ebbw Vale RFC 26 Carmarthen Quins RFC 0

The away side came out and started the second half strongly. After some decent defending, home coach Jason Strange replaced hooker Rhys Francis with Ieuan Morris.

Carmarthen scored their first try of the afternoon after good play from a lineout. The two points were added successfully to reduce the deficit.

With the home forwards wrestling the ascendancy back, a further penalty from a scrum inside the visitors twenty-two saw the home side elect for another scrum. A huge push by the pack resulted in scrum half Harries scoring his second try of the game and Ebbw Vale’s fifth of the afternoon. Outside half Lloyd successfully kicked the conversion.

Further changes by the Steelmen’s coach Strange, saw second row Jakub Malecki replace Dylan Baartlett and prop Owen Hatherill come on for Adam Court.

The Quins were soon reduced to fourteen men when the referee awarded replacement Garan Williams a yellow card for ill-discipline. This appeared to spur the away side on and they scored their second try of the game. However, flyhalf Wilson was unable to add the extras.

Jason Strange continued to make changes to the hosts. Prop Harry Drane came on for Luke Garrett, Ewan McIntyre came on for flanker Ben Main, who was making his first start for Ebbw and winger Amir Jiwa-Walji was replaced by Ewan Bowden.

The Steelmen scored their sixth try when number eight Alex Howes went on a trademark barn storming run from around the visitors twenty-two line to touch down out wide. Top points scorer Lloyd successfully kicked the conversion.

Ebbw Vale continued their dominance with Curtis Gregory stretching over the line to score the home side’s seventh try of the afternoon. Lloyd again kicked the conversion.

That was to be the outside half’s last action in the game as Lloyd was replaced by centre Dominic Franchi. Inside centre for the day Keiran Meek switched back to his more familiar role of fly half to accommodate the centre.

With replacements being made, the Steelmen pack kept their strong form going, when from a lineout inside the twenty-two, prop Harry Drane did well to score the hosts eight try of the afternoon and take their tally to over fifty points for the game. Meek successfully added the two points.

Credit to the away side, who never gave up and scored their third and fourth tries late in the game to take home a try scoring bonus point from the afternoon.

Full Time: Ebbw Vale RFC 54 Carmarthen Quins RFC 24

 

Tries: Alex Howes (2), Rory Harries (2), Rhys Francis (1), Curtis Gregory (1), Harry Drane (1), Carrick McDonough (1)

Conversions: Evan Lloyd (6) Keiran Meek (1)

 

09/12/23

The Steelmen March On… (Report by Rob Rees)

Ebbw Vale RFC 27 Cardiff 15

Ebbw marched on to the semi-final of the WRU Premiership Cup following a second win over Cardiff this season.

Straight from the get go, the hosts took it to their visitors and after a lengthy period of pressure inside the 22, Evan Lloyd knocked over the game’s first points. The Ebbw scrum was rapidly becoming a difference maker and Lloyd added three more points shortly after.

The scrum has been a strong point this season and Ebbw were well on their way to continuing their unbeaten season at the Ciner Glass Community Stadium when the referee decided to award a penalty try off the back of yet another destructive scrum.

A late change to Cardiff’s line-up saw Harrison James move to fly half and assume kicking duties. Despite missing with his first attempt, he was back on track and closed the gap to 10 points with half an hour gone.

The last laugh of the half belonged to the Steelmen, who combined some fine handling skills amongst the backs that saw Ethan Phillips dart around the defence to grab Ebbw’s second of the day.

HT: Ebbw Vale 20-3 Cardiff

The Blue and Blacks came out of the blocks quickest, with Jason Strange’s men struggling to keep up in the third quarter. Tries from Alun Rees and replacement prop Eddie Drake bringing them back within five points.

The tension was almost unbearable at this point, but the supporters in green, red and white got behind their team one more time to push them to a game winning drive. Jon Evans’ beautifully weighted kick was pounced upon by Amir Jiwa-Walji, who had already made one devastating break just minutes prior.

Evan Lloyd’s successful conversion was to be the final score of the game and the hosts marched on to their first semi-final since 2018. The opponents will be one of Llandovery, Swansea or Merthyr.

FT: Ebbw Vale 27 Cardiff 15

Tries: Ethan Phillips, Amir Jiwa-Walji, Penalty Try

Cons: Evan Lloyd (2) Pens: Evan Lloyd (2)

 

30/11/23

Ebbw suffer away loss

Aberavon 24 Ebbw Vale 13

The Steelmen travelled to Aberavon for a midweek game in freezing weather conditions but were unable to come away with any points.

The visitors started on the front foot, which saw them enter the hosts twenty-two on plenty of occasions. However, despite their best efforts,  handling errors led to the away side not being able to take advantage of their territorial supremacy.

On the twentieth minute, Ebbw made their territory count. With an Aberavon player not rolling away, the away side were awarded a penalty in front of the posts. Captain Joe Franchi opted for the scrum. From the base of the scrum, experienced number nine Jon Evans darted towards the try line. Not held, the scrum half got back up but was thwarted close to the try line. Young back rower Owen Conquer picked the ball up and dived over the line to score the games opening points. Fly half Evan Lloyd successfully kicked the conversion.

With the forwards going through phase after phase, another snipping run by scrum half Jon Evans saw the experienced player offload to Dylan Bartlett. Brought down close to the line, the ball was spilled forward, and the Wizards were able to clear their lines.

From the resulting clearance, the Steelmen were again on the front foot. However, another error led to the hosts being given the opportunity to clear their lines.

After being awarded a penalty just inside the Ebbw Vale half, a fantastic kick by Aberavon outside half James Davies, saw the ball reach the Ebbw five metre line. From the lineout, hooker Cam Lewis come off the back of the maul and charged through a tackle to score the Wizards first points. Fly half Davies was unable to add the extras.

With the home side coming more into the game, some good attacking play by the Wizards, saw the hosts go close to adding to the score. However, good defence by the away side kept it to a two point game going into the interval.

Half Time:  Aberavon RFC 5 Ebbw Vale RFC 7

The away side came out for the second half having to make a change. Captain Joe Franchi was replaced by Ieuan Morris.

Within two minutes of the second half the Wizards took the lead. A clever chip over the Ebbw Vale defence by home replacement Scot Delnevo just inside his half, saw the ball caught on the bounce by winger Jay Baker. With plenty to do the winger stepped inside the covering defence and sprinted into the corner to score Aberavon’s second try of the game. Outside half Davies added the two points. An injury to Jordan Thomas saw Keiran Meek replace the winger.

From the restart, an infringement by a home side player gave the Steelmen a chance to reduce the deficit. From the tee, top points scorer Evan Lloyd successfully kicked the penalty to again make it a two-point game.

Ebbw were given another opportunity immediately, after second row Dylan Bartlett caught the ball from the kick off, ran deep into the home side half and fed speedster Carrick McDonough. With the covering defence in attendance, the speedster kicked the ball forward deep into the twenty-two.

The resulting play saw the home side have a lineout inside their twenty-two. The referee awarded a penalty to the visitors after an infringement in the lineout. However, on this occasion Evan Lloyd was unsuccessful with the kick.

Ebbw flyhalf Lloyd was able to make amends with his next penalty after a penalty from the scrum inside the Wizards twenty-two saw the flyhalf put his side one point ahead.

On the fifty fifth minute, the away side coach Jason Strange made changes. Adam Court replaced Harry Drane, Ewan McIntyre came on for Jacub Melaki and Cameron Regan replaced Owen Conquer.

With the hosts starting to steal more and more of the Steelmen’s lineout, a line out win by Aberavon, saw the forwards set up a maul that reach the visitors twenty-two. With the ball passed out to the backs, a kick through by centre Rodrick saw the centre collect his own kick and draw the defence. An impressive inside pass to replacement scrum half Aron Hemmings, saw the young number sprint over the line to score his sides third try of the game. Flyhalf Davies successfully kicked the conversion.

Further line out issues saw the Steelmen lose territory and after a break on the halfway line by the hosts, an offside decision resulted in the Wizards fly half Davies have an opportunity to stretch his team further ahead with fifteen minutes to go. However, on this occasion the outside half was unable to convert the penalty.

Further replacements by Ebbw Vale saw Rory Harries replace experienced scrum half Jon Evans, Luke Garrett come on for Morgan Davies and Chad Thomas comes on for terrific Alex Howes.

A further line out steal from Aberavon just outside the away side twenty-two saw the ball go through the home side backs hands. A well set up overlap saw flyhalf Davies draw the last defender and pass to centre Frankie Jones, who showed his speed to go over unopposed to score the home side’s bonus point try. Davies was unable to add the extras.

With the game going into the final moments, the Steelmen tried to bring the score back to within a score. However, despite going close, good defence by the Wizards, saw the home side hold out for a well-deserved bonus point win.

Full Time:  Aberavon RFC 24 Ebbw Vale RFC 13   

Tries: Owen Conquer (1)

Conversion: Evan Lloyd (1)

Penalties: Evan Lloyd (2)

 

 

25/11/23

Ebbw Vale Claim Another Win

Ebbw Vale 36 Swansea 7

The Steelmen came away with five points after the game was played in crisp weather conditions.

The game started with both sides making mistakes and releasing the pressure off each other, after making in-roads into each side’s twenty-two.

Following an infringement at the scrum by the visitor’s, a kick to the corner by Ebbw Vale outside half Keiran Meek saw the home side forwards apply the pressure. With co-captain Rhys Francis being stopped just short of the line, second row Curtis Gregory was alert and stretched over the try line, to score the first try of the game. Fly half Meek successfully added the two points.

The away side’s first chance of points came when the All Whites were awarded a penalty just inside the Ebbw half, after a forward strayed in front of the kicker. Ex Ebbw Vale number ten Rhys Jones was unlucky to see his kick fall just short of the posts.

With the visitors putting some nice moves together and keeping hold of the ball, flyhalf Jones was given another opportunity to put his team on the scoreboard after the hosts were caught offside. However, the experienced number ten was unable to take advantage.

With Swansea on the back foot and attempting to run from their own twenty-two, referee Simon Mills adjudged an away back to have held onto the ball at the ruck on the halfway line. Ebbw fly half Meek found touch. From the lineout outside the visitors twenty-two, the hosts forwards set up a rolling maul, which saw Ebbw go forward at a rate of knots. The end result saw co-captain Francis touch down to go joint top of the try scoring charts with his seventh try of the season. Meek was unable to add the extra’s.

The All Whites brought themselves back into the game, when from a lineout in the Steelmen twenty-two, they set up a maul. A break down the blind side saw the ball end up in the hands of Morgan Rees to score a well taken try. Outside half Jones added the two points.

Ebbw Vale extended their lead just before half time when a Swansea player was too quick out of the blocks and was adjudged to have been in front of the kicker. Fly half Meek sent the penalty between the sticks to put his side eight points ahead.

Half Time: Ebbw Vale RFC 15 Swansea RFC 7

The home side came out and went straight onto the front foot. A knock on by an away side player in the visitor’s twenty-two provided Ebbw with a scrum in an attacking position. An impressive push by the Steelmen forwards, saw referee Mills award the hosts a penalty. A chip to the corner by outside Meek saw the Ebbw forwards attempt to replicate their try from the first half from a maul. However, on this occasion, they were unable to take advantage.

With the All Whites unable to clear their line, the hosts were not to be denied, however. Centre Dom Franchi was stopped just shy of the try line. Prop Harry Drane was on hand to dive over and score the home side’s third try of the game.

Ebbw Vale Coach Jason Strange started to ring the changes. Hooker Ieuan Morris replaced co-captain Rhys Francis, Morgan Davies came on for Luke Garrett, Jon Evans replaced Rory Harries, Evan Lloyd replaced Keiran Meek, Ben Main came on for his debut after replacing Kobi Rees and Owen Hatherill replaced Harry Drane.

From a penalty inside the Swansea twenty-two, the Steelmen opted for a scrum. After winning the scrum, an unstoppable maul saw referee Mills have no alternative but to award a penalty try to the home side. To add to their misery, Swansea number seventeen Tom Slone was shown a yellow card and spent ten minutes in the sin bin.

The home side made another change, with young number eight Owen Conquer replacing Alex Howes.

A clever kick forward in space by the hosts full back Carrick McDonough, saw the speedster nearly add another try. However, the covering defence just got back to touch the ball down over the try line for a goal line drop out.

With the All Whites on the back foot, an up and under from their twenty-two landed in the arms of Ebbw replacement Lloyd, who passed straight to replacement number eight Conquer. Charging over the halfway line, the young number eight barged straight through four Swansea defenders and was able to offload in the tackle to supporting runner Jon Evans, who went over unopposed. Replacement fly half Lloyd successfully kicked the conversion.

Credit to the All Whites, who never gave up and nearly scored their second try of the game late on when centre Osian Knott passed out wide to winger Morgan Rees, who believed he was in to score. However, referee Mills pulled play back for a forward pass.

The home side finished the game with fourteen men, when in the last-minute replacement scrum half Jon Evans was shown the yellow card for ill-discipline. The away side were unable to take advantage and Ebbw cleared their lines to see out the game.

Full Time: Ebbw Vale RFC 36 Swansea RFC 7

 

Tries: Curtis Gregory (1), Rhys Francis (1), Harry Drane (1), Penalty Try (1), Jon Evans

Conversions: Keiran Meek (2), Evan Lloyd (1)

Penalty: Keiran Meek (1)

 

18/11/23

Ebbw take the spoils in another Gwent derby  

Newport 20 Ebbw Vale 28

The Steelmen came away from Newport with a hard earned but well-deserved victory, in a game that was played in testing conditions.

Straight from the kick off, playing into the wind, the away side took the game to their opponents. After being awarded consecutive penalties in the home sides half, Ebbw Vale outside half Evan Lloyd successfully kicked a penalty to put the visitors three points ahead.

Three early substitutions for Newport disrupted the home sides rhythm. However, they were soon ahead when from a lineout inside the Steelmen’s twenty-two, the home side forwards set up a rolling maul, which ended with hooker Henry Palmer diving over the line to score the first try of the game. Fullback Carwyn Penny was unlucky not to add the two points when his conversion came back off the posts.

With the away side forwards taking the game to the Black and Ambers, a superb chip inside the home side’s twenty-two by Evan Lloyd out to the wing, saw Ebbw Vale young winger Harry Rees-Weldon catch the ball and cross the line to score in the corner. A terrific conversion by Lloyd from the touch line went over after hitting the inside of the post, to extend Ebbw’s lead further ahead.

Newport soon hit back and retook the lead, when from a lineout inside the Steelmen’s half, the ball found its way out to full back Penny, who saw a gap in the defence outside the away side’s twenty-two. With the defence scrambling back, the full back showed his pace and went under the posts unopposed. Penny successfully converted his own try.

Ebbw Vale marksman Lloyd put the visitors back ahead from a penalty after the referee penalised Newport for ill-discipline.

With the game going into first half injury time, Lloyd further extended the away side’s lead to make it a four-point game going into the interval.

Half Time: Newport RFC 12 Ebbw Vale RFC 16

The Steelmen came out for the second half, like they finished the first half and went straight onto the front foot. With the wind and momentum behind them, Ebbw further extended their lead to seven points within five minutes of the restart, when the visitor’s top points scorer Lloyd kicked an excellent fifty metre penalty.

The Black and Ambers responded immediately with full back Penny successfully reducing the deficit with an excellent penalty into the wind.

Another penalty by the visitor’s marksman Lloyd, saw the lead again extend to seven points for the Steelmen.

The away side were given another opportunity to extend their lead to ten points after ill discipline by Newport gave Lloyd an opportunity from the tee. With the wind behind him, the marksmen successfully kicked the penalty to put Ebbw Vale more than one score ahead.

With the weather continuing to play a part in the game, Ebbw Vale coach Jason Strange started to ring the changes. Lewis Young replaced the impressive Kobi Rees, inspiring props Adam Court and Morgan Davies were replaced by Harry Drane and Luke Garrett.

Further ill-discipline by the home side gave the visitors an opportunity to stretch their lead to thirteen points on the seventieth minute. Prolific points scorer Lloyd duly obliged.

The Steelmen’s coach Strange, made further changes with co-captain Rhys Francis replacing the ever-dependable Joe Franchi and Owen Conquer coming on for the excellent Alex Howes.

With just over five minutes left of the game, the away side were reduced to fourteen men when fly half Lloyd was penalised in the Ebbw twenty-two. Running out of patience the referee showed the yellow card, to leave the Steelmen seeing out the remainder of the game one man down.

The hosts with a numerical gain, took advantage when the forwards took the penalty quickly and number eight Ben Roach powered over the try line to score his sides third try of the game. Full back Penny was again unsuccessful with the conversion.

With only minutes remaining, Ebbw Vale coach Strange replaced the reliable Harry Rees-Weldon with Kieran Meek and Rory Harries came on for the industrious Jordan Thomas.

Despite the best efforts of both teams, no further points were added to the scoreboard, leaving the Steelmen victorious after a hard battle in tricky weather conditions.

Full Time: Newport RFC 20 Ebbw Vale RFC 28

 

Tries: Harry Rees-Weldon (1)

Conversion: Evan Lloyd (1)

Penalties: Evan Lloyd (7)

 

 

 

02/11/23

Pontypool win the Gwent derby

Pontypool RFC 25 Ebbw Vale RFC 20

The Steelmen left Pontypool Park with a losing bonus point, after playing in front of the S4C Clic cameras.

The away side took the game straight to Pontypool. After winning the scrum inside the home side twenty-two, the Ebbw forwards went through phase after phase, before number eight Ryan Jenkins powered his way over the try line. Outside half Evan Lloyd successfully added the two points.

Flyhalf Lloyd was unable to add a further three points from a penalty, after a shot at goal from near the halfway line went wide of the posts.

With the game being played from one end to the other, Pooler soon scored their first points of the night, after number ten Matthew Jarvis successfully kicked a penalty.

The home side scored their first try of the game, when the ball reached Pooler centre Joel Mahoney out wide from a maul. With a lot to do and two men outside him, Mahoney showed his speed and went around the covering defender to touch down. Jarvis duly added the two points. In trying to stop the try, Ebbw Vale number eight Ryan Jenkins pulled up with an injury and as a result was replaced by Chad Thomas.

After winning a rare lineout inside their own half, the Steelmen’s fly half Evan Lloyd put in a superb 50:22 to put his side on the front foot. However, the away side were unable to take advantage, with Pooler winning the lineout and clearing their lines.

With Ebbw Vale having the better of the scrum, referee Craig Evans awarded a penalty to give the away side a chance to level the score. Last year’s club top point scorer Evan Lloyd duly obliged to bring the scores level.

Ebbw scored their second try of the game and the last points of the first half when scrum half Jon Evans collected a high ball on the halfway line. With a lot to do, the scrum half burst through tackles before offloading the ball to the supporting forwards in the Pontypool twenty-two. With the home side defence being stretched, a long back of the hand pass by Ebbw Vale number ten Evan Lloyd out to the wing, saw the home side winger Walker Price knock the ball on. Taking his time to decide, referee Craig Evans adjudged the winger to have deliberately knocked the ball on and showed the player a yellow card. To compound the woes, referee Evans also awarded the Steelmen a penalty try.

Half Time: Pontypool RFC 10 Ebbw Vale RFC 17

The second half started off in the same fashion as the first with the away side dominating the scrum but losing the line out.

Whilst still down to fourteen men, Pontypool hit back. From a line out in the Ebbw Vale twenty-two, the home side forwards played through phase after phase with the Steelmen defence holding firm. However, replacement Dylan Kelleher-Griffiths was strong enough to dive over the line. Outside half Jarvis hit the post after slipping.

The away side quickly added a further three points from the boot of Lloyd, after referee Evans awarded a penalty due to scrum half Jon Evans being upended illegally.

With the Pontypool forwards in the ascendancy, Referee Evans produced a yellow card to Ebbw prop Morgan Davies for not rolling away.

Looking to freshen things up, Ebbw Vale coach Jason Strange replaced co-captain Rhys Francis with Ieuan Morris, prop Adam Court came on for Harry Drane and second row Jakub Maleki was replaced by Curtis Gregory.

A rolling maul by the Steelmen forwards was stopped on the halfway line when referee Evans penalised a home side forward for illegally changing their bind. A superb kick into the Pooler twenty-two, saw Ebbw Vale make an unforced error when the ball was not thrown into the lineout straight.

However, from the scrum, referee Evans penalised Pontypool and award a penalty. On this occasion, however, Ebbw outside half Lloyd was unable to add the three points.

Further Steelmen changes saw Kieran Meek replace flyhalf Evan Lloyd, Gethin Williams came on for Lewis Young and Luke Garrett replaced Morgan Davies after the conclusion of his yellow card.

The home side went back in front with ten minutes left to play. After a knock on from the restart on the Ebbw try line, Pooler replacement Ben Moa ran at the away side defence. The forwards again going through the phases, with Alex Grey driving the ball over the line to score. Number ten Jarvis kicked the conversion successfully.

A big push in the scrum from the Pontypool forwards with five minutes to go, saw Craig Evans penalise the Ebbw scrum. Pooler number ten Jarvis was successful with the penalty to put his team five points ahead.

No further points were scored in the final five minutes, in front of a crowd that was estimated to be between two to three thousand.

Full Time: Pontypool RFC 25 Ebbw Vale RFC 20    

 

Tries: Ryan Jenkins, penalty try

Conversion: Evan Lloyd

Penalties: Evan Lloyd (2)

 

 

28/10/23

The Steelmen dig deep to win

Ebbw Vale 18 Bridgend 16

A last-minute long-distance penalty miss by Bridgend, saw Ebbw win a close fought game by two points on a wet Gwent day.

The home side came out of the blocks quickly. After being awarded consecutive penalties, outside half Evan Lloyd put Ebbw Vale inside Bridgend’s twenty-two. From the lineout, the forwards set up a maul, with co-captain Rhys Francis on hand to touch down within the first ten minutes. Fly half Lloyd was unable to add the extra’s.

However, the away side soon put their first points of the afternoon on the scoreboard, when number ten Luke Price sent the ball through the middle of the uprights after the Steelmen were penalised by referee Jason Bessant.

The Ravens had another opportunity to go in front, when the referee adjudged an Ebbw Vale player had pulled back a Bridgend player off the ball. From by the five-metre line, outside half Price put the kick wide.

Moments later the Steelmen extended their lead. After the away side were penalised for being offside, Ebbw points machine Lloyd successfully slotted the penalty to put his side five points ahead.

With the away side starting to see more of the ball, fly half Price was again on target with his second penalty of the afternoon, after referee Bessant penalised Ebbw Vale for ill-discipline.

On the stroke of half time, the home side were again penalised. From out by the touchline ten metres inside the Ebbw half, outside half Price sent the ball through the posts to give his side a one-point lead going into the interval.

Half Time: Ebbw Vale 8 Bridgend Ravens 9

The Ravens came out for the second half with a point to prove. A clean break through the home side defence in the centre of the pitch saw two players in support. With a draw of full back McDonough and a quick pass to Jordan Collier, resulted in the Bridgend player sliding over the line for the away sides first try of the afternoon. Fly half Price slotted the conversion to put his side eight points ahead.

With both teams conceding possession, Ebbw Vale coach Jason Strange made his sides first changes of the afternoon. Forwards Morgan Davies and Harry Drane replaced fellow props Luke Garrett and Adam Court on the fifty first minute.

On the hour mark the Steelmen were given another opportunity to reduce the deficit. Marksman Lloyd duly obliged from the tee and added three points to the Ebbw Vale scoreline.

With the game entering the final twenty-minutes, Ebbw coach Strange made further changes when Rory Harries replaced Jon Evans and Amir Jiwa-Walji came on for Ryan Davies.

However, the momentum swung on the sixty-eighth minute when Bridgend were reduced to fourteen men. Young Ebbw Vale number eight Owen Conquer ran at the Bridgend defence and was tackled high. Credit to all the medical staff, who were on the scene immediately to see to the youngster. Before play resumed, referee Bessant produced a red card to the Ravens replacement Gareth Harvey for the high tackle. Ebbw replacement Alex Howes, returning to the club from Abergavenny, came on to replace the young number eight.

Ebbw coach Strange continued to make the changes with Kieran Meek replacing Evan Lloyd. With the Steelmen in the ascendancy and the referee awarding penalty after penalty, the away side were reduced to thirteen men on the seventy fourth minute. Replacement prop Alex George receiving the yellow card.

The Steelmen emptied their bench with Curtis Gregory replacing second row Jacub Malecki and hooker Ieuan Morris came on for co-captain Rhys Francis.

The home side continued to show their power up front with referee Bessant awarding penalty after penalty at the scrum on the away sides five metre line. In the closing minutes, a huge effort by the pack at scrum time, saw referee Bessant award a penalty try to Ebbw and produce a further yellow card to Bridgend’s number one Harry Olding, to leave the away side play the final moments with twelve men.

A valiant effort by the Ravens just inside the Ebbw Vale half, saw the forwards go through the phases. Referee Bessant awarded the away side a penalty just inside the Steelmen half. With the last play of the game, replacement fly half Paul Short eyed up the posts. With a huge swing of the boot the ball fell short of the posts to enable the home side to kick the ball into touch and claim a hard fought win.

Full Time: Ebbw Vale 18 Bridgend Ravens 16

Man Of The Match: Owen Conquer

Scorers

Tries: Rhys Francis, Penalty try

Penalties: Evan Lloyd (2)

 

 

21/10/23

Ebbw Continue Their Good Run

Neath RFC 17 Ebbw Vale RFC 35

The Steelmen came away from the Lexton Gnoll with five points, after a scrappy performance saw them score five tries.

The away side came out of the blocks quickly and put Neath under a sustained amount of pressure.  With the referee awarding the Steelmen numerous penalties inside the Welsh All Blacks half, a quick bit of thinking by Ebbw Vale scrum half Jon Evans, saw the captain for the day take a quick tap from a penalty in the home side twenty-two and dive over the line to score the games first try of the game. Fly half Kieran Meek added the extras.

The away side kept up the pressure and soon scored their second try of the game. From a penalty in the Neath half, a kick by Ebbw outside half Meek gave the away side a lineout in Neath’s twenty-two. From the lineout, the forwards went through the phases and hooker Ieuan Morris grounded the ball. Number ten Meek was successful with the conversion to put his side fourteen points ahead.

Despite being awarded numerous penalties, Ebbw Vale were unable to take advantage and add to the score.

A lovely 50:22 kick by the Steelmen fullback for the day Carrick McDonough, saw Ebbw Vale apply more pressure to the Neath try line. However, on this occasion the Welsh All Blacks defence held firm.

On their first visit to the away side twenty-two, Neath struck back. A scrum to the home side to the left of the posts saw number six Gethin Tremblett pick up the ball from the scrum and run over unopposed. Flyhalf Steff Williams added the extras.

With the hosts gaining in confidence, further good play saw the referee award the Welsh All Blacks a penalty just inside the Ebbw Vale twenty-two for offside. Outside half Williams was unlucky not to add three points as he hit the post. However, Williams was soon to make amends, when after being awarded another penalty, the number ten successfully added three points to reduce the deficit to four.

No further points were added to the scoreline before half time.

Half Time: Neath 10 Ebbw Vale 14

The home side came out for the second half, looking to continue where they left the first half. A lineout in the Ebbw Vale twenty-two saw the hosts awarded a further penalty. However, after going to the line out, the Steelmen were able to turn the ball over and clear their lines.

After forty-five minutes, Ebbw coach Jason Strange started to ring the changes. Co-Captain Rhys Francis replaced Ieuan Morris and props Luke Garrett and Adam Court came on for Charley Kearns and Owen Hatherill.

Within two minutes off coming on, captain Francis made an instant impact. After kicking to the corner from a penalty in the Neath twenty-two, the Ebbw Vale forwards won the line out and set up a maul for Francis to dive over the line to score his side’s third try of the afternoon. Kieran Meek was again successful with the conversion.

After a further penalty had been awarded to the away side, the referee reduced the Welsh All Blacks to fourteen men, when number eight David Griggs was shown the yellow card.

With the Steelmen forwards having the grit between their teeth, they decided to take a scrum right in front of the posts. A big push by the pack was only stopped by an infringement by the hosts forwards and the referee awarded a penalty try and showed a further yellow card to the home side’s prop Elis Hopkins.

Against the run of play and down to thirteen men, Neath soon struck back. From a scrum just outside the away side’s twenty-two, fly half Steff Williams found a gap in the Ebbw Vale defence and burst through to touch down unopposed. Williams also added the two points.

Further changes were made to the away side line up when Jakub Malecki came on for Curtis Gregory and half backs Roy Harris and Evan Lloyd replaced Jon Evans and Kieran Meek.

The final two changes by Ebbw coach Strange, saw Kobi Rees come on for his debut by replacing Chad Thomas and shortly after Ewan Bowden replaced winger Amir Jiwa Walji.

However, the Steelmen were soon reduced to fourteen men, when after some good play by the Neath backs saw the ball passed to the winger, who was unable to collect the ball. The referee adjudged winger Bowden had pushed the player off the ball and showed the replacement the yellow card.

After a lull in play, the away side stepped it up in the final stages of the match. After winning more penalties in the hosts half, from a line out the ball made its way out to the wing, and hooker Francis was on hand to barge over the line to score his team’s fifth try of the game. Replacement outside half Evan Lloyd sent a superb conversion through the middle of the uprights from the touchline.

Despite the best efforts of both sides, no further points were added to the scoreline.

Full Time: Neath 17 Ebbw Vale 35

Scorers

Tries: Jon Evans, Ieuan Morris, Rhys Francis (2), Penalty try

Conv: Kieran Meek (3), Evan Lloyd (1)

 

12/10/23

Ebbw Go Top of the League

Ebbw Vale 25 Llandovery 17

The Steelmen forwards laid the foundations for the home side to win 25 – 17 and replace Llandovery at the top of the table in a game that was played in miserable weather conditions.

The start of the game saw both sides try to adapt to the wet weather conditions.

Within ten minutes, Ebbw were awarded a penalty when the referee penalised the away side. The home side outside half Evan Lloyd duly kicked the penalty for the first points of the game.

The Drovers immediately hit back when, from the restart a knock on was collected by one of the home side players in an offside position. Last years league top points scorer Jack Maynard brought the scores level.

From the scrum on the halfway line, the referee awarded the away side with a penalty after an infringement from Ebbw Vale in the scrum. With Llandovery kicking into the home side twenty-two, from the resulting line out, a breakthrough the Steelmen’s defence saw the ball make its way out to Aaron Warren, who crossed for the first try of the game. Maynard was unable to add the two points.

Ebbw’s coach Jason Strange was forced to make an early substitution when young number eight Ryan Jenkins was forced off the pitch due to an injury and replaced by Owen Conquer.

With the home side starting to win the forward battle, the Steelmen were offered an opportunity to reduce the deficit when the Drovers were adjudged to be offside inside their own half. Marksman Lloyd duly kicked the penalty to bring the game to within two points.

A clever high kick by outside half Lloyd led to Llandovery knocking on inside their own half. Ebbw centre Dom Franchi was on hand to take the ball forward and set the forwards up to go through the phases. Quick ball by Jon Evans to Lloyd, saw the outside half take the ball on, draw the defence, feint to pass inside and instead pass the ball out to winger Amir Jiwa-Walji. With a lot to do, the winger showed his pace and strength by bursting through the midfield at an angle, handing of a defender and beating two covering defenders to the line to score a very well taken try. Lloyd was unsuccessful with the conversion.

With the referee penalising the Drovers again, marksman Lloyd superbly kicked the penalty to put the home side three points ahead. The away side were quickly given another opportunity to draw level through a penalty. However, Maynard was uncharacteristically off target with his attempt.

Llandovery were soon level, when from a penalty at a scrum, Maynard was successful with his kick.

Going into the final few minutes of the first half, both sides exchanged penalties, with Ebbw Vale’s Lloyd sending a wonderful kick from the halfway line straight through the posts. The away sides Maynard brought the scores level at half time with a penalty from inside the home side’s twenty-two.

Half Time: Ebbw Vale 14 Llandovery 14

The second half started off in the same fashion as the first half ended. With the Steelmen’s outside half Lloyd kicking through and chasing, the covering defender pulled the number ten back to stop him collecting the ball. From which, the referee awarded Ebbw a penalty. The club’s top scorer Lloyd successfully added the three points to put the home side back in front.

Ebbw Vale were soon reduced to fourteen men, when from a grubber kick in the Llandovery half, the ball bobbled inside the home side’s twenty-two. Full back Morgan Richards collected the ball and threw it back. Attempting to recover the ball on their own try line, the referee adjudged the full back went off his feet to stop Llandovery from obtaining the ball and sent Richards to the sin bin for ten minutes.

With the weather conditions deteriorating, Ebbw coach Strange replaced prop Harry Drane with Adam Court.

Llandovery were once again level when they were awarded a penalty from the lineout. Full back Maynard successfully added the three points.

With the home side forwards starting to go through the gears, the referee showed the Drovers prop Jamie Hughes a yellow card for being offside. Fly half Lloyd uncharacteristically hit the post.

From the rebound, the ball landed in the arms of a Steelmen forward’s arms inside the Drovers twenty-two. However, the ball was knocked on. Prop Morgan Davies was replaced by Luke Garrett and from the resulting scrum, an offence by the away side provided fly half Lloyd with an opportunity to put Ebbw back in front. The number ten duly obliged to make the score 20-17.

The home side were starting to apply the pressure. With the ball at the hands of fly half Lloyd in the centre of the pitch, a well-judged kick, saw the ball bounce into the hands of speedster Carrick McDonough in the Llandovery twenty-two.

As the covering defender approached, the home side winger cleverly put in a soft grubber kick, which the away side covering defence took over the line. A good chase by the home side saw the Drovers dot the ball down, resulting in a scrum to Ebbw Vale.

From the scrum five metres out, a huge push by the Steelmen eight, saw replacement Conquer touch the ball down at the base of the scrum to score his first try for the club. Fly half Lloyd was unable to add the two points.

The home sides final changes saw Kieran Meek replace Evan Lloyd, Ieaun Morris come on for captain Rhys Francis and Gethin Williams replace Cameron Regan.

Despite the best efforts of the away side, the Steelmen’s defence held firm, with no further points being added to the game.

With the away side throwing caution to the wind, a break by the backs from their own twenty-two saw Ebbw scrum half Jon Evans put in a superb cover tackle just inside the Ebbw Vale half. The referee then blew his whistle for full time.

Full Time: Ebbw Vale 25 Llandovery 17

Scorers:

Tries: Amir Jiwa-Walji, Owen Conquer

Penalties: Evan Lloyd (5)

Man Of The Match: Morgan Davies

Seren yr Gem (S4C): Rhys Francis

 

30/09/23

Ebbw Keep Their Good Run Going

Ebbw Vale 26 RGC 10

The home side left it late to obtain a try bonus point win  at home to RGC with a 26 points to 10 victory and keep their recent good run of form going.

The Steelmen’s coach Jason Strange made ten changes to the starting fifteen from their last outing in the Premiership Cup game away to Neath, which included giving young centre Cameron Davies his debut.

After a scrappy start to the game, the away side nearly took the lead after the forwards went through the phases, however, winger Sam Stoddard was unable to touch the ball down, when over the line. Moments later, RGC took the lead after the referee penalised the home side at the scrum. Full back Sam Earl-Jones duly put the first three points on the board.

With Ebbw winning the line out in RGC’s half, the ball found its way out to young winger Harry Rees Weldon, who collected the ball and went over the try line to score the Steelmen’s first try of the game. Outside half Evan Lloyd was unsuccessful with the conversion.

The home side were playing on the front foot and only a last-ditch tackle by a covering RGC defence stopped Weldon from adding a second try. Further good play by Ebbw Vale saw the youngster receive the ball, however the ball was knocked on over the try line.

Moments before the break, the Steelmen added to the scoreboard. From a line out in the away side’s half, a thirteen-man maul resulted in co-captain Rhys Francis scoring his sides second try of the afternoon. Fly half Lloyd added the two points to put his side nine in front going into the break.

Half Time: Ebbw Vale 12 RGC 3

The home side came out fired up for the second half and within ten minutes of the second half had scored their third try of the game. From a driving maul, co-captain Francis scored his second try of the afternoon. Lloyd with a superb kick, that went over after hitting the posts, extended the lead to sixteen points.

RGC were reduced to fourteen men for ten minutes after the referee penalised RGC and flanker Charlie Probert was sent to the sin bin.

Ebbw coach Strange started to ring the changes after hard working props Morgan Davies and Harry Drane were replaced by Luke Garrett and Owen Hatherill and Owen Conquer replaced the industrious number eight Ryan Jenkins.

Further good play by Ebbw Vale was only thwarted by some outstanding defence by the away side before coach Strange replaced debutant Cameron Davies with Dominic Franchi, the excellent Rhys Francis with Ieuan Morris, superb second row Jakub Malecki with Curtis Gregory, Kieran Meek came on for influential fly half Evan Lloyd and the superb Jonathan Evans was replaced by Rory Harries.

The away side scored their only try of the game when Sam Earl-Jones kicked through for Dafydd Williams to pick up the ball and touchdown. Earl-Jones added the extras.

With the final play of the game, the Steelmen turned over RGC ball which saw Carrick Mcdonough race down the wing. After lovely link play involving a number of players, replacement scrum half Rory Harries dived over the line to claim the bonus point for the home side. Replacement Kieran Meek successfully kicked the conversion to bring the game to an end.

Full Time: Ebbw Vale 26 RGC 10

Scorers:

Tries: Harry Rees-Weldon, Rhys Francis (2), Rory Harries

Cons: Evan Lloyd (2) Kieran Meek (1)

 

23/09/23

Ebbw Advance to the Next Round

Neath RFC 19  Ebbw Vale RFC 40

The Steelmen progressed to the last eight of the Premiership Cup after overcoming a spirited Neath side to win 40 -19 at the Gnoll.

The Ebbw Vale forwards started the game, just like they finished the game against Cardiff. After a penalty was awarded to the away side just inside Neath’s half, a kick by fly half Keiran Meek, saw Ebbw have a line out inside The Welsh All Blacks twenty-two. From the resulting lineout, the forwards set up a maul, which the referee adjudged to have been stopped illegally on the try line and awarded the Steelmen a penalty try.

The visitors soon added to their try tally when from a lineout in the home side’s twenty-two, a rolling maul ended with number eight Chad Thomas scoring a try. Outside half Keiran Meek successfully added the extra two points.

From a penalty at the scrum in The Welsh All Blacks twenty-two, some quick thinking by Ebbw’s scrum half Rory Harries, saw the former Pontypridd player take a quick tap and dive over the line for his side’s third try of the game. Meek again was successful with the conversion to extend Ebbw Vale’s lead to twenty one points.

The home side were soon back into the game, when from a lineout in the away sides twenty-two, Neath forwards applied some pressure on the visitor’s line. The ball made its way to the home side’s captain and centre Ryan Evans who crossed the line to score his sides first try. The Welsh All Blacks fly half Kristian Jones added the extras.

With the home side growing in confidence and putting Ebbw on the back foot, the forwards applied sustained pressure on the Steelmen’s try line, resulting in the pack grabbing a second try.  Outside half Jones was unsuccessful with the conversion.

Some excellent play by Neath during a purple patch, saw the Welsh All Blacks narrow the deficit further. A clean break through the midfield inside their own half, saw the ball passed to former Steelmen Dafydd Howells who raced over the try line to score a very well taken try. Jones added the two points to make it a two-point game, going into the interval.

Half Time: Neath 19 Ebbw Vale 21

With the game on a knife edge at the start of the second half, both teams came out and took the game to each other.

Ebbw’s coach Jason Strange decided to replace the excellent Rory Harries and dependable Keiran Meek with Jonathan Evans and Evan Lloyd early on in the second half and the visitor’s fitness started to tell when after a good team move, flanker Gethin Williams barged over the line to score Ebbw Vale’s fourth try of the game. Marksman Lloyd successfully added the two points to put his team nine points ahead.

Further changes to the away side saw prop Owen Hatherill replace the outstanding Adam Court and Owen Conquer replace the hard-working Chad Thomas for his Steelmen debut.

Some pressure by the home side saw Neath attempt to go over the try line. However, the Steelmen’s defence held firm.

Ebbw’s prop Charley Kearns replaced the wonderful Morgan Davies and hooker Ieaun Morris came on for the ever-dependable Rhys Francis.

After Ebbw Vale were awarded a penalty in the Welsh All Black’s twenty-two, fly half Lloyd kicked to the corner. From the resulting lineout, replacement hooker Ieaun Morris kept up his good start to the season by scoring a try from a maul. However, outside half Lloyd was unable to add the extras on this occasion.

An excellent 50-22 by the away side’s Ethan Phillips kept the visitors on the front foot. With his team fourteen points ahead. Coach Strange brought on Ewan McIntyre for the thriving Curtis Gregory and Cameron Davies replaced the inspirational Dom Franchi, both making their debuts for the Steelmen.

With time running out, Neath tried playing out from inside their own half. With the ball being passed out wide, the Steelmen’s winger Carrick McDonough intercepted the ball and showed his speed to run half the pitch unopposed to score with the last play of the game. Fly half Lloyd brought the game to an end by successfully adding the two points.

Full Time: Neath 19 Ebbw Vale 40    

Scorers:

Tries: Penalty try, Chad Thomas, Rory Harries, Gethin Williams, Ieuan Morris and Carrick McDonough.

Cons: Keiran Meek (2), Evan Lloyd (2)

 

16/09/23

Magnificent Ebbw Bring Home the Bonus Point Win

Cardiff RFC 20 Ebbw Vale RFC 36

A superb display by the Steelmen forwards laid the foundations for a bonus point victory.

With the away side taking the game to the hosts straight from the kick off, a penalty was awarded after a late tackle on scrum half Jon Evans. The resulting penalty was kicked into the home side twenty-two. From the lineout, the Ebbw forwards set up a maul which ended in hooker Ieuan Morris diving over the line to score the games first try. Outside Half Evan Lloyd successfully added the two points.

Shortly afterwards, the referee awarded a penalty to the Rags, just inside the Ebbw Vale half. Young fly half Harrison James stepped up and sent the ball through the uprights to get his team’s first points of the game.

After the referee penalised Cardiff again, another kick into the home sides twenty-two by Ebbw fly half Lloyd, once again saw the forwards charge towards the line. However, this time the referee awarded a penalty try to the Steelmen after only an infringement stopped the forwards from crossing the line.  As a result, the referee showed the Rags flanker Nathan Hudd a yellow card.

From a scrum just inside the away side’s half, the referee penalised the Ebbw Vale pack. From a similar position to their first penalty, number ten James was on this occasion unsuccessful with his kick.

Ebbw scored their third try of the game after a superb 50:22 kick by the Steelmen’s centre Ethan Phillips, saw number two Morris score his second try of the game after the forwards set up another maul from the lineout. Fly half Lloyd was successful with the conversion to put his team eighteen points in front of the hosts.

Cardiff got their first try of the game, when from a lineout inside the away side’s twenty-two, hooker Alun Rees dived over the line. Outside half James added the extras.

A further penalty by James, saw the home side reduce the deficit to eight points before both sides were reduced to fourteen men. The home side’s Harrison James and Steelmen’s Jon Evans spent ten minutes in the sin bin for an altercation off the ball.

Some excellent kicking from Ebbw’s Evan Lloyd kept the away side in the Cardiff half. With only minutes left in the first half, from a lineout inside the Rags twenty-two, a driving maul by the away side’s forwards provided number eight Ryan Jenkins with the platform to score his teams fourth try of the game. Lloyd brought the half to a close by successfully kicking the conversion.

Half Time: Cardiff 13-28 Ebbw Vale

Shortly after the game resumed, the home side scored their second try of the game. A clever back move resulted in winger Kodie Stone scoring a well taken try after finishing off a length of the field attack. James kicked the conversion.

The Steelmen’s marksman Lloyd put his team eleven points ahead from a penalty, after the referee penalised Cardiff for ill-discipline.

Straight after, Ebbw coach Jason Strange replaced the impressive Ieuan Morris with co-captain Rhys Francis and the hard-working Cameron Regan with Gethin Williams.

Lloyd uncharacteristically missed the uprights for the away side after the referee once again penalised the Rags.

With Ebbw Vale applying the pressure, a wonderful break of the line by fly half Lloyd, saw the outside half throw an audacious out of the back of the hand pass to supporting winger Harry Rees-Weldon, who went over the line to score his first try for the team. Lloyd unluckily missed the extras.

Further replacements from Ebbw, saw the exceptional Luke Garrett and excellent Harry Drane be replaced by Morgan Davies and Adam Court, Jakub Malecki replaced the industrious Curtis Gregory, Chad Thomas came on for the superb Ryan Jenkins, Rory Harries replaced the brilliant Jon Evans and Kieran Meek came on for the wonderful Evan Lloyd.

No further points were added to the scoreline, despite the best efforts of both sides. However, the home side was reduced to fourteen men for the last few moments of the match when flanker Nathan Hudd was sent off after receiving a second yellow card.

Full Time: Cardiff 20-36 Ebbw Vale

Scorers: Tries: Ieuan Morris (2), Ryan Jenkins, Harry Rees-Weldon, Penalty try

Pen: Evan Lloyd   Cons: Evan Lloyd (3)

 

09/09/23

Ebbw Claim a Bonus Point Victory

Ebbw Vale RFC 38 Pontypridd 21

The Steelmen welcomed Pontypridd to the Ciner Glass Community Stadium on a rare cloudless, warm, sunny day in Ebbw Vale.

Before the game a minute silence was impeccably held for young Lewi Sullivan who tragically lost his life recently.

The home side were once again slow out of the blocks, with Ponty taking advantage when experienced winger Dale Stuckey finished off a great run by centre Ryan Wilkins to score the first try of the game. Outside half Josh Phillips was unable to add the two points.

The away side stretched further ahead when centre Wilkins scored a very good team try moments later. Fly half Phillips was successful with the conversion to put his team twelve points ahead.

Within fifteen minutes of the kick off, Ebbw number three Harry Drane got on the wrong side of the referee, was shown a yellow card, and spent ten minutes in the sin bin.

Shortly after, Pontypridd took full advantage of the extra man, when after successive penalties, marksman Phillips added the three points.

A great take by winger Harry Rees Weldon from the restart put the Steelmen on the front foot. After applying some pressure inside the twenty-two, the home side were unable to get their first points of the afternoon.

An impressive kick by Ebbw’s number ten Evan Lloyd, from inside his twenty-two reached the Ponty twenty-two. From the resulting play, the referee awarded Ebbw Vale a penalty and marksman Lloyd got his sides first points of the game. Shortly after, Lloyd was again successful with a penalty to shorten the deficit.

With the home side forwards starting to impose themselves on the game, a kick to the corner from a penalty saw the Steelmen forwards set up a driving maul which ended with flanker Lewis Young crossing the line with five minutes left of the first half. Lloyd successfully added the extras.

On the stroke of half time, the referee awarded Ponty a penalty inside their own half. Number ten Phillips superbly converted the kick to take his team into the break ahead.

Half Time: Ebbw Vale 13-18 Pontypridd

The Steelmen came out for the second half with a point to prove. Some strong forward play saw the ball make its way to influential scrum half Jon Evans, who put a clever grubber kick through for speedster Ryan Davies to be first to the ball to touch down in the corner. Fly half Lloyd kicked a superb conversion to put his team into the lead for the first time during the game.

With the away side missing a penalty, marksman Lloyd put Ebbw a further three points in front after the referee awarded the home side a penalty from a scrum.

On the fifty-fifth minute, Ebbw Vale coach Jason Strange replaced the experienced Cameron Regan with Gethin Williams and influential flanker Lewis Young with Chad Thomas.

Fly half Lloyd further extended the Steelmen’s lead when after good inroads into the Pontypridd defence by the home side’s forwards, saw the ball passed back to Lloyd to kick a successful drop goal.

Changes to the front row, by the home sides coach Strange saw Adam Court replace the hard working Harry Drane and Morgan Davies come onto the field for the impressive Luke Garrett.

Ill discipline by the Steelmen gave Ponty another opportunity from the boot. Outside half Phillips again successfully added the three points.

Ebbw coach Strange made his sides final change of the game on the sixty fourth minute when second row Jakub Malecki replaced the industrious Curtis Gregory.

From a neat chip through deep into the away sides twenty-two, pressure applied by the home side’s winger Ryan Davies, saw the youngster tackle Pontypridd winger Stuckey into touch. Pontypridd won the lineout, however, the Steelmen forwards turned the ball over and number eight Ryan Jenkins used his strength to power over the line to score his sides third try of the game with twenty minutes left on the clock. Lloyd was unable to add the extras.

With the game coming to a close, the referee showed Ponty number eighteen Morgan Bosanko a yellow card after an indiscretion at the scrum.

Ebbw scored their fourth try of the game when fly half Lloyd powered over the try line from short range. Lloyd, after an impressive performance, brought the game to a close by adding the two points to cap off a man of the match winning performance.

Full Time: Ebbw Vale 38-21 Pontypridd

Scorers:

Tries: Lewis Young, Ryan Davies, Ryan Jenkins, Evan Lloyd

Pens: Evan Lloyd (3)    Cons: Evan Lloyd (3)  Drop Goal: Evan Lloyd

 

03/09/23

Ebbw Gain a Bonus Point

Merthyr RFC 24 Ebbw Vale RFC 17

The Steelmen travelled across the Heads of the Valleys on a glorious sunny day for rugby.

Jason Strange’s team were slow out of the blocks. Straight from the kick off, Merthyr were awarded a lineout in the Ebbw Vale 22 when an Ebbw player’s foot touched the line from the opening kick-off. Winning clean ball from the lineout, the ball made its way to the home sides winger Adam Hoskins, who went over the line to score within the opening two minutes of the match. Fly half Gareth Thompson successfully added the extra’s.

With the Ironmen having most of the ball, the away side were reduced to fourteen men, when Ebbw Vale flanker Chad Thomas was shown a yellow card.  Merthyr made their numerical advantage count, when from a scrum inside the Steelmen’s twenty-two, the ball made its way to centre Morgan Sieniawski, who crossed the line unopposed. Outside half Thompson again added the two points.

The away side were soon back down to fourteen men, when second row Dylan Bartlett was penalised for an offence inside Ebbw’s twenty-two. From the resulting scrum, the referee decided prop Luke Garrett had caused an offence and provided a further yellow card. Again, Merthyr decided to opt for the scrum and from the resulting play, the referee went straight under the posts, to award the Ironmen a penalty try.

As the game entered the last few moments of the first half, the Steelmen made an enforced change when co-captain Joe Franchi was replaced by fellow co-captain Rhys Francis due to an injury.

Half Time: Merthyr 21-0 Ebbw Vale 

A clearly fired up away side came out for the second half with a point to prove. After applying a sustained amount of pressure inside the Merthyr twenty-two, a charge down by Curtis Gregory, saw the second row chase the ball over the line to touch down to score the away side’s first points of the game. Full back for the day Evan Lloyd added the two points.

After the referee awarded the Steelmen a further penalty inside the Ironmen’s half, the home side were given a reprieve when Ebbw marksman Lloyd uncharacteristically missed the uprights.

With the visitors growing in confidence, outside centre Ethan Phillips continued his good run from last season, when inside the home side’s twenty-two, Phillips sliced through the defence to score a well taken try. Lloyd was unsuccessful with the conversion.

Within minutes of each other, Ebbw Vale coach Strange made a host of changes. Returning to the club Morgan Davies was replaced by Harry Drane and Cameron Regan for Chad Thomas, new signing Rory Harries came on for Jon Evans, Charley Kearns replaced the ever-present Luke Garrett and the ever-dependable full back Morgan Richards came on for Kieran Meek.

From a lineout, Merthyr were reduced to fourteen men when a replacement prop was this time of the wrong side of the referee. However, with reduced numbers, the Ironmen pulled further ahead, when on the sixty third minute, fly half Thompson successfully added three points to the home side’s tally, after the referee awarded the home side a penalty in front of the posts.

The away side emptied their bench on the seventy first minute when Amir Jiwa-Walji replaced the steady Ewan Bowden.

With the game entering the final five minutes, Ebbw’s Lloyd kicked a penalty to the corner. From the lineout, the forwards put in a driving maul which resulted in replacement Rhys Francis diving over the line to bring his side back to within a score. Marksmen Lloyd was unable to add the extra two points.

Merthyr kept the ball within the dying minutes to see out the game and win the opening match of the Indigo Premiership season.

Full Time: Merthyr 24-17 Ebbw Vale

Scorers: Tries: Curtis Gregory, Ethan Phillips, Rhys Francis

Con: Evan Lloyd

After the game we spoke with Ebbw’s number eight Ryan Jenkins. Ryan was disappointed with the start to the game. He thought the squad prepared well and had a great warm-up, but everything went out of the window. He thought the side showed what they could do in the second half but believed it was a wakeup call.