Sunday, September 30, 2012

Ebbw Vale 37 Newbridge 7, SWALEC Championship, 29/09/12

It was another Derby Day Demolition job at Eugene Cross Park as Ebbw Vale crushed near neighbours and nemesis of recent seasons, Newbridge.
The Steelmen ran in 5 tries and gained a valuable bonus point to go to the top of the table on try count and, on current form, it is a position in which they'll stay. On a bright but cool afternoon a healthy crowd saw the pace and power of the home side totally dominate the encounter, and, quite frankly, if it wasn't for some last gasp slip ups and some benevolent refereeing (towards Newbridge) by top ref Nigel Owens, it could have been 67.

From the Ebbw website:

"In a game the Steelmen dominated, Ronny Kynes got the first touchdown after Dan Haymond's early penalty. It was vintage catch and drive from a lineout following a penalty. Ebbw's forwards had their opposite numbers back-pedalling faster than Mark Colbourne in reverse and Kynes grabbed the try. Ebbw's second was scored by Tom Ashmead whose scintillating run-in from half way saw him turn would-be tacklers inside out. It was 18-0 at half time, but it could have been much more had Ebbw taken all their chances, one following a superb slicing break by the influential man-of-the-match Dan Haymond and the other when a 3-man overlap was overlooked. Newbridge were clearly wounded by the first half and came out strongly after the break. In the first minute, former Ebbw scrum half Tom Edwards charged down Haymond's clearance and Burnett goaled to make the score 18-7. Any prospects of a fightback were nullified when Josh Lewis capitalised on a Simpson kick ahead to score, and the bonus point was in the bag when replacement scrum half Josh Davies darted over after sustained pressure by the superb Ebbw pack. That made it 30-7, but Ebbw weren't done and a brilliant break by the hungry-looking Wes Cunliffe appeared to have put Davies in for a second score. When he was tackled short, the alert Cunliffe, who had run a great supporting line, was on his shoulder to accept the pop pass and register his side's fifth try."

The match ball was sponsored by Eye For Finance :)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ebbw Vale 55 Pontypool 8, SWALEC Championship, 22/09/12

Ebbw Vale trounced a meek Pontypool outfit on a glorious first day of autumn by running in nine tries and looking fit, powerful and strong in the process.
The Steelmen have won all four league games so far with 3 bonus points, and are right up there in the league table with Newbridge and Bargoed.
From Ebbw Vale website:

"Ebbw scored 9 tries in demolishing a spirited but inexperienced Pontypool team, taking the season's total to 30 in only 4 games. Pontypool started very strongly, taking the game to Ebbw from the kick off and, after full back Clayton Gullis missed an early penalty when Ebbw were adjudged offside, they scored a try through openside flanker Elliot Goodman. Although Gullis missed the conversion, he made amends soon after, landing a beautifully struck penalty to make it 8-0. The small band of travelling supporters sensed an upset afoot, but their optimism proved unfounded as their team proceeded to concede 55 unanswered points to a Steelmen side that was faster, fitter, more skillful and better organised. A lovely pass from Dan Haymond set Josh Lewis up for the first try, before Haymond's classy touchdown gave Ebbw the lead. A quick break, and kick and chase by scrum half Josh Davies made it 19-8 with Haymond's extras, then superb skill by Charlie Simpson set Josh Lewis free deep in his own half for the former Mountain Ash player to race home for the score that sealed the bonus point. Ebbw led 26-8 at half time.

Ebbw were Bolt-like out of the blocks in the second half, Wes Cunliffe stretching his legs to score within a minute of the restart. Pontypool's defence was finding it almost impossible to contain Ebbw's powerful ball carrying forwards, with Man-of-the-Match Spencer Gibson always to the fore, while the home backs were in a different league in terms of skill and invention. It was Gibson who scored next, bursting down the right and rounding behind the posts to make Haymond's job easier; the outside half duly obliged and it was 40-8. Next to score was replacement scrum half Chris Thomas, and powerful Polu Uhi brought up the half century with a characteristic barnstormer wide on the left. To round off the rout, replacement centre Will Owen made it 55-8, and that was how it finished."

Pontypool have had their problems this summer and are clearly rebuilding. Forgive me if I don't shed too many tears for them. I'm afraid they pinched too many players off us  back in the day for that, and I've too many bad memories of hammerings down at their 'Paark' not to take a particular pleasure in this result (they really wouldn't be too bothered if the boot was on the other foot).

Next Saturday, Newbridge are the visitors (match ball sponsor Eye For Finance) which will be our toughest test yet, as we'll be desperate to banish memories of that double reverse against them last season.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Glamorgan v Kent, LVCC2, 11-14/09/12

In September sunshine, Robert Croft ended a wonderful 24 year career by takng a wicket with his final ball in first class cricket and, in the process, dented Kent's promotion ambitions and, in helping his team win, ensuring Glamorgan avoided the Championship wooden spoon in a poor season.

Glamorgan build a total
James Tredwell bowling

An end of season crowd
Charlie Shreck, Crofty's final victim later in the game
Kent's Mark Davies, Rhys Ifans look a like

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Ebbw Vale 45 Narberth 16, SWALEC Championship, 08/09/12

Ebbw Vale maintained their 100% start to the season by securing a bonus point victory over an organised and determined Narberth.
6 tries, two in the first half, four in the second, gave the scoreline a slghtly flattering feel as Narberth came back strongly towards the end, and you got the impression that Ebbw Vale could play a lot better.
That said, the Steelmen put together some high quality passages of play and what was especially pleasing was to see highly encouraging displays from newcomers, Chris Thomas (scrum half), Spencer Gibson at No.8, and Polu Uhi and Luke Davies at centre.