Ebbw Vale 10 Swansea 13

By: Paul Hopkins

 

The All Whites celebrated a gutsy victory over Ebbw Vale in a tightly fought contest at Eugene Cross Park.

 

In the opening phases flanker Duane Eager spilled a lineout forward and the Ebbw Vale backs looked to attack from inside their own half. Lock Jay Williams was penalised for a deliberate trip off the ball and was promptly yellow carded with fly half Dai Langdon finding touch deep inside the Swansea twenty-two.

 

The home pack drove ominously towards the line, but outstanding work by the Swansea front eight secured a crucial turnover.

 

Flanker Ben Fry made a darting run up to the twenty-two and centre Ethan Phillips raced through a gap in midfield, but a failed Matt Aubrey interception ended the move.

 

The home side continued their onslaught on the Whites’ line though and Phillips found a metre of space to stroll over for a try under the posts. Full back Dan Haymond converted.

 

A crooked lineout throw by hooker Joe Franchi gave Swansea a rare chance to show some enterprise, but centre Rhys Williams lost the ball forward under pressure.

 

But the home side were unable to make the most of the reprieve and prop Chris Coleman was penalised for diving over the top of a ruck, gifting fly half James Davies an easy three pointer.

 

Good work by lock Ashley Sweet set up another Ebbw attack and the visitors were caught offside in midfield. Haymond restored his side’s seven point advantage with a successful penalty goal.

 

Half-time:-   Ebbw Vale   10   Swansea   3

 

Swansea began the second half in promising fashion and Rhys Williams was brought down on the twenty-two. The ball was recycled out to full back Josh Thomas who found Nathan Trowbridge, but the winger was unable to chase down his chip ahead.

 

Josh Thomas superbly took a high ball to set up another Whites attack and centre Gareth Rees injected pace into the backline, throwing a superb flip pass to winger Ryan Griffiths. The Ebbw Vale defence was penalised for offside and Aubrey opted to tap and go, sending Rees over for a try. James Davies converted.

 

A long touch finder by replacement fly half Lewis Williams was almost kept in play by Josh Thomas, but the full back was adjudged to have knocked the ball forward, giving Ebbw Vale an attacking scrum. Phillips fumbled the ball in midfield though so the move broke down.

 

A powerful scum by the visitors earned a penalty on half way and James Davies found touch on the twenty-two, although hooker Owen Thomas failed to throw straight at the lineout.

 

Haymond made a break down the wing, but a wasteful chip through by replacement scrum half Dai Jones gifted Swansea possession. With the home side struggling to get out of their own territory Joe Franchi held on after the tackle. James Davies kicked his side into the lead with less than ten minutes remaining on the clock.

 

The home side attacked through Phillips but the supporting centre Dom Franchi was turned over by the Swansea defence who were able to clear long.

 

With time running out Haymond kicked to the corner with a penalty following a high tackle. Replacement centre Callum Reagan was brought down inside the twenty-two and Dom Franchi made good yards before winger Paul King was crowded out into touch with the last play of the game.

 

Full-time:-   Ebbw Vale   10   Swansea   13

 

Ebbw Vale:

 

Tries:-   Ethan Phillips (13)

Cons:-   Dan Haymond (14)

Pens:-   Dan Haymond (31)

 

Swansea:

 

Tries:-   Gareth Rees (50)

Cons:-   James Davies (51)

Pens:-   James Davies (22, 72)

 

Yellow cards:-   Jay Williams (5)

 

Match facts:

 

Venue:-   Eugene Cross Park

Weather:-   Light cloud, 8C

Man of the match:-   Tom Sloane

Attendance:-   400

 

Ebbw Vale team:

 

15 Dan Haymond

14 Paul King

13 Dom Franchi (rep: Callum Reagan 31)

12 Ethan Phillips

11 Dafydd Thomas

10 Dai Langdon (rep: Lewis Williams 51)

9 Matthew Flanagan (rep: Dai Jones 54)

1 Ross Jones (Luke Garrett 51)

2 Joe Franchi

3 Chris Coleman

4 Dan Hill

5 Ashley Sweet ©

6 Rhys Francis

7 Ben Fry

8 Lewis Young (rep: Dawid Rubasniak 58)

 

Replacements:

 

16 Will Griffiths

17 Luke Garrett

18 Dave Whiting

19 Max Ayling

20 Dawid Rubasniak

21 Dai Jones

22 Lewis Williams

23 Cameron Reagan

 

Swansea team:

 

15 Josh Thomas

14 Ryan Griffiths

13 Gareth Rees

12 Rhys Williams

11 Nathan Trowbridge (rep: Callum Carson 62)

10 James Davies

9 Matt Aubrey

1 Tom Sloane

2 Owen Thomas (rep: Shawn Howard 73)

3 Greg Cunniffe

4 Shaun O’Rourke (rep: Matt Dodd 62)

5 Jay Williams

6 Duane Eager (rep: Guido Volpi 41)

7 Callum Bowden (rep: Will Jones 62)

8 Jon Fox ©

 

Replacements:

 

16 Shawn Howard

17 Rhys Davies

18 Dean Howells

19 Matt Dodd

20 Guido Volpi

21 Will Jones

22 Tom Ham

23 Callum Carson

 

TEAM P W D L PF PA PTS
Cardiff 16 13 0 3 396 243 61
Carmarthen Quins 17 10 3 4 372 278 54
Aberavon 16 11 0 5 371 272 53
Llandovery 16 9 2 5 344 285 48
Pontypridd 18 10 0 8 394 376 47
Merthyr 18 8 0 10 362 374 44
RGC 1404 17 8 1 8 409 381 43
Newport 15 7 0 8 294 278 37
Swansea 17 7 0 10 246 292 35
Llanelli 15 6 0 9 293 412 27
Ebbw Vale 17 4 2 11 283 351 27
Bridgend Ravens 18 3 0 15 271 493 19