Sunday, November 3, 2013

Ebbw Vale 34 Tata Steel (Port Talbot) 3, SWALEC Championship, 02/11/13

The end result suggests it was business as usual for the Steelmen of Ebbw Vale against the (still) steel producers of Port Talbot, namely a 5 try bonus point win with a defensive line unbreached by tries once again.
But, for long periods it looked as though the bonus point wouldn't come, as the 'owling (sic) wind drove horizontal rain into players faces (Sky News would have had reporters on a rolling 'stormwatch') and seemingly the referee's to judge by some of his bizarre decision making.

In fact, some of Tata's players were very keen for the sanctuary of the replacements' bench, judging by their persistent infringing resulting in 3 yellow cards, which could in all honesty have run into double figures. Even their prop forwards sought shelter, as a spell of injuries amongst their front row led to the majority of the game taking place with the dreaded passive scrums, thereby neutering much of Ebbw's powerbase.

In fact, this, together with the driving wind and rain making long ball lineouts difficult to be thrown straight, made for some frustrating passages of play as Ebbw's opposition scrapped hard and attritionally, but with little attacking intent.

Ebbw led 10-3 at half time, but were downwind second half and eventually made their forward superiority count with 5 tries overall. It was not a great day for flowing running rugby so credit goes to Jordan Howells for grapping a brace, plus a fine dummy effort from Chris Thomas, the usual score from Ronny Keynes and Joe Bartlett taking advantage of a tired defence by scoring from a 'tap and go'.

A full (and better) report is on the Ebbw Vale RFC website.
The table now looks like this, and it really looks like a race for 2nd place as Ebbw continue to romp to a 4th successive title, but this time with promotion at the end of it:

Sorry about the pics, but it's the best I could do from the shelter of the 'Bank Gazebo'.