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.