Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Ebbw Vale 12 Bedwas 15, Principality Premiership Tier 1, 04/02/17

There was a bitterly disappointing outcome to Ebbw Vale's opening match in the second half of the Premiership season (that involving the top 8) as Bedwas emerged victorious despite being under pressure in terms of territory and possession for most of the game.

In fariness to the visitors they were superbly organised, tackled everything and, in Ebbw nemesis Richard Powell, had a stand off who kicked his kicks, all 5 of them penalty shots at goal.

Nonetheless, the Steelmen, having fought so hard to be in the top 8, will rue missed opportunites. Leading 7-6 at half time through a converted Catch'n'Kynes, they would have expected pressure to count as the game wore on, but only managed a Jack Goodley score from a lineout.

The home side threw everything bar the proverbial kitchen sink at Bedwas as the game reached its finale, but it was not to be and the away side's defence stayed resolute despite Ebbw's pounding drives, which, whilst not lacking in effort, were maybe deficient in finesse. 

Josh Lewis had a rare off day with the boot

Ebbw pressure

The lineout working well

Scrum pressure

But in the second half....

...Bedwas stayed resolute

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Ebbw Vale 57 Skewen 7, WRU National Cup, 28/01/17

The last Saturday in January delivered a very comfortable victory for Ebbw over a plucky Skewen outfit from the division below in the first round of the unsponsored WRU National Cup.

Historical links between the two clubs are few and far between, with the last fixture between the clubs reportedly having taken place in 1910. Nonetheless, it was good to see former Neath, Dragons and Ebbw wing Kevin James in the centre for them, and he is clearly  enjoying the social side of the game at a lower level.

It was pretty much one way traffic in the first half with tries from Dai Langdon, Gareth Maule and James Lewis supplementing a hatrick from Nathan Preece, giving the Steelmen a 38-7 interval lead.

With the full bench of substitutes then used, the second period did not have the same avalanche of tries, but there were three further touchdowns from Jack Goodey (with a brace) and one from Dawid Rubasniak.

Skewen battled hard, but the gap between even two levels in modern rugby is quite large, especially in terms of fitness, speed and power.

The draw for the second round was held midweek, with the Steelmen relishing a visit to Beddau (whom we have played more recently in our Championship days).

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Ebbw Vale 24 Cardiff 20, Principality Premiership, 31/12/16

Ebbw Vale put themselves in pole position to make the top eight cut for the 2nd half of the Premiership season by closing out this sense win over a tremendously committed, young Cardiff side.

Trailing 17-20, and with the clock approaching 80 minutes, Ebbw Vale stuck to the tried and tested power scrum to deliver a knockout blow, as the continued collapsing of the set piece by Cardiff led to the inevitable penalty try and conversion.

With just one play left, the Black and Blues threw everything at Ebbw and kept hammering away at the try line at the cricket pitch end of Eugene Cross Park, constantly recycling possession and tapping the penalties which the Steelmen conceded. Eventually, after nearly 13 minutes and with 2017 fast approaching in the gathering gloom, Ebbw's brilliant defence forced a misdemeanor from the attacking side, and the penalty kick was duly dispatched into the river.

In the first half, Cardiff 10 Gareth Thompson scored a charge-down try and converted this, as well as 2 other penalties. Josh Lewis goaled two penalties for Ebbw, but the home side trailed 6-13 at half time. Playing towards the beer, a Harri Keddie try plus another two Lewis penalties made it 17-13, before Cardiff hit back with Ceri Young crossing and Thompson converting, hence setting up the barnstorming finish.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

So 2016 is nearly done.

It's been a funny old year. Lots of famous people passing on....and democracy driving some of us mad.

That said, it was the year that finally Ebbw Vale RFC won something in my lifetime! 
Premiership Champions 2015/16...and that can never be taken away from us.

Have a great Christmas and Happy New Year.

Next up.. home games versus Cardiff and Cross Keys, and a 2017 where Iron Maiden tour, as maybe do Metallica. Already I have tickets for Deep Purple next November in what may be the last time I see them, Ian Gillan is 72 in August, yikes!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Planet Rockstock, Trecco Bay, Porthcawl, 02-04 December 2016

Another splendid weekend down at Trecco Bay, Porthcawl with the Planet Rock Radio crew. Good bands, good venue, great value for money, and a really good sound and stage set up.


After nearly 40 years in the business, these women (they're hardly girls are they?), never fail to delight their loyal fans. With 3 of the original 4 members still in situ (and you don't see much of that these days), they stuck closely to their festival set, heavily biased towards their early 80s heyday, and I, for one, loved it: Emergency, Demolition Boys, Race With The Devil, Hit'n'Run, Screaming Blue Murder, Future Flash, Watch Your Step.

Girlschool on a Friday night...splendid..

Jackie Chambers....

...getting closer.

Jax and Enid

The Dead Daisies

Friday night headliners, The Dead Daisies, really did steal the show. With power, energy and stage presence all in abundance and now containing 3/5ths of the Whitesnake line up of 10 years ago, plus frontman John Corabi, once of Motley Crue, there is more than a hint of stardust about this band, as they returned to entertain the Trecco Bay throng.

With the new album 'Make Some Noise' going down well, and plenty of the good stuff from 'Revolution', they certainly rocked the Main Stage. A fine end to the evening.

A well oiled crowd enjoying the Daisies.

John Corabi, looking more like Roy Wood every year

John and Marco Mendoza

Doug Aldrich

John, close to the crowd

and Marco, in the crowd!

Martin Turner (Wishbone Ash)

Martin Turner playing all of the 1972 Wishbone Ash opus 'Argus' was always going to divide opinion. 

Some punters at the weekend were bored to tears.
Me? I thought it was great, but I've always been a sucker for early 70s hard rock with a proggy feel.

With a touch and feel reminiscent of 'Dark Side' Pink Floyd, the playing and sound quality were pure class. Interestingly, hearing this material live made you realise just how much Iron Maiden have 'taken' of this sound in their latter day albums, especially in the slower passages.

Steve Harris's British Lion

Well I gave it 15 minutes.

Iron Maiden fan to my shoelaces I may be, but I really can't get into Steve Harris's side project.
So it was a quick listen, and away for a swifty and Match Of The Day.

A good weekend nonetheless.