Steelmen earn bonus point victory
By Alex Kinsella-Evans
Fifth place Ebbw Vale played bottom of the table Llanelli on a damp night at the Ciner Glass Community Stadium. A bonus point win took the steelmen to third in the table.
A youthful Llanelli side took the lead from a penalty within the first three minutes through outside half Gareth George.
The first try of the game came in the eighth minute from the Steelmen’s number nine Jon Evans. With the home side forwards starting to get on top, from a driving maul the scrum half superbly darted over the line from five metres out to touch down. Ebbw outside half Kieran Meek added the two points.
With both sides showing plenty of endeavour, the weather conditions were making it difficult to keep hold of the ball until on the twenty fifth minute the home sides number eight Chad Thomas made a good run and throwed a dummy pass to score in the corner for his sides second try of the game. Meek superbly slotted the conversation.
The away side were hampered further when impressive flanker and captain Iwan Shenton unfortunately had to leave the field during the half due to an injury.
The away side came back into the game and put some good phases together. However, the Steelmen’s defence held firm and no further points were added to the scoreboard in the first half.
Half Time Ebbw Vale 14 – Llanelli 3
The Ebbw forwards came out for the second half clearly fired up. After some excellent forward play, the ball made its way to in form outside centre Ethan Phillips, who ran a great line to score under the posts. Meek again successful with the conversation.
Inside the first fifteen minutes of the second half, the home scored their fourth try. Some quick precise passing from the backs led to the ball making it ways to winger Liam Lloyd, who on his debut went over in the corner to collect his teams bonus point. Meek added the two points.
With the home side pulling further away, coach Jason Strange started to ring the changes by bringing on Lewis Kinsella and Dave Whiting in the front row, Andrew Mann in the back row and Evan Lloyd and Matthew Flanagan at half backs. The impressive Kieran Meek being replaced on the fifty ninth minute.
Within two minutes of coming off the bench, replacement flyhalf and the leagues top point scorer Evan Lloyd run a lovely line to go over the try line unopposed to score his side’s fifth try of the game. Lloyd converting his own try.
After the home side cleared their bench by bringing on Alex Watkins at hooker, Morgan Thomas in the second row and Haydn Simons at full back, Llanelli second row Chris Long received a yellow card due to continuous offenses. However, the Steelmen were not able to add any further points onto the scoreboard.
Credit must go to Llanelli, who with a youthful squad were committed, never gave up and kept the scoreline from increasing further.
Full Time: Ebbw Vale 35-3 Llanelli
Spirit of Wales man of the match: Kieran Meek
We spoke to Llanelli captain Iwen Shenton. Iwen was disappointed with the result and was expecting a tough challenge from Ebbw Vale, which he felt they got. He could not fault his teams’ effort and felt they left everything out on the pitch but was not good enough on the night. They experienced a tough battle up front with a young pack and thought it was a good test for his team. One which fell short.
We caught up with Dom Franchi. Dom was happy to win the game after two defeats. He felt it was Important not to slip up and do their best to score as many points as possible to put the team in a good position to get into the top four. Talking about making one hundred appearances for the club, Dom was happy having been at the club for seven to eight years. He felt it had been a long time coming having had some injury`s but was happy to have represented the club so many times.
Finally, we spoke with head coach Jason Strange. Jason was really pleased with the five points and some individual performances, especially Ethan Phillips and Curtis Gregory who played his best performance for the club. Jason was pleased with the positive performance and collecting the bonus point win.