Match Reports 2023/24
All Reports by Alex Kinsella-Evans
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)
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)
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)
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)
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
Tries: Rhys Francis, Penalty try
Penalties: Evan Lloyd (2)
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
Tries: Jon Evans, Ieuan Morris, Rhys Francis (2), Penalty try
Conv: Kieran Meek (3), Evan Lloyd (1)
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
Tries: Amir Jiwa-Walji, Owen Conquer
Penalties: Evan Lloyd (5)
Man Of The Match: Morgan Davies
Seren yr Gem (S4C): Rhys Francis
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
Tries: Harry Rees-Weldon, Rhys Francis (2), Rory Harries
Cons: Evan Lloyd (2) Kieran Meek (1)
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
Tries: Penalty try, Chad Thomas, Rory Harries, Gethin Williams, Ieuan Morris and Carrick McDonough.
Cons: Keiran Meek (2), Evan Lloyd (2)
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)
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
Tries: Lewis Young, Ryan Davies, Ryan Jenkins, Evan Lloyd
Pens: Evan Lloyd (3) Cons: Evan Lloyd (3) Drop Goal: Evan Lloyd
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.