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.

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