LLANDOVERY 15 EBBW VALE 9

What the Papers Say – Huw S Thomas reports
Copyright Huw S Thomas, and used by kind permission of Huw S Thomas

In wild and windy conditions at Church Bank fourth placed Llandovery earned their seventh win in 10 games at the expense of third placed Ebbw Vale writes Huw S Thomas

The game passed a 2 00 pm pitch inspection but the expected driving rain and high winds made life extremely difficult for both sides.

The Steelmen held a slender 9-5 interval lead but as well as they defended in the second half, it was the Drovers who finished far the stronger for a narrow win.

The win takes Llandovery up into third spot after 10 of the 30 Premiership games but they now face three successive very tough away games at Pontypridd, Merthyr and Cross Keys.

Coach Euros Evans paid tribute to the work of his forwards.

“Whenever you play Ebbw Vale, you know that your pack is going to be asked big questions up front and particularly so in heavy conditions” said Evans.

“So it was very encouraging to see our forwards not only hold their own against a bigger pack but also to last the pace better in awful conditions.”

Evans did not signal out any forward in particular but the commitment and high work rate of players and replacements was of the highest order under the leadership of lock Jack Jones –  a Pro 14 player disguised  in Premiership colours.

Fly half Rhys Jones – son of former Wales flanker and current Canada coach Kingsley Jones – stroked over a penalty from half way to put Ebbw into an immediate lead but a driving, well manoeuvred maul by the Drovers pack soon saw former Sale and current Scarlets hooker Marc Jones drive over in a mass of bodies.

Jones made it 6-5 with another easy, albeit long distance penalty before being off target with one from the half way line.

Ebbw’s wind assisted kicking game kept the Drovers under pressure and a third Jones penalty stretched the lead.

Llandovery’s fierce chop tackling  in which the back row of Lewis Ellis-Jones, Emyr Price and Stuart Worrall were immense figures kept their line intact as half time approached in the pouring rain.

The Ebbw scrum looked strong after the restart and with Llandovery’s kicking for position a bit off key, there was little to choose between the sides.

Out of the blue, the Drovers conjured a try when teenage scrum half Dafydd Land quickly released Aaron Warren in midfield and the wing sent ever-excellent centre Rhodri Jones arrowing through at an angle

Maynard converted for a 12-9 lead before home ill discipline gave centre Carl Meyer the chance to tie the scores but his penalty was wide with seven minutes to go.

Maynard plugged Ebbw back with some clever kicking to stifle any chance of a late upset and the game was sealed with the fly half’s 30 metre penalty in injury time.

Llandovery

Tries – M Jones, R Jones; con – J Maynard; pen – J Maynard

Ebbw Vale

Pens – R Jones (3)

TEAM P W D L PF PA PTS
Merthyr 30 23 0 7 885 593 117
Cardiff 30 22 1 7 991 660 111
Pontypridd 30 22 0 8 1015 580 110
Llandovery 30 21 1 8 856 551 104
Ebbw Vale 30 20 1 9 762 594 95
Aberavon 30 18 2 10 698 603 90
Newport 30 17 2 11 759 700 88
Rygbi Gogledd Cymru 1404 30 14 1 15 852 650 85
Swansea 30 16 0 14 674 594 81
Carmarthen Quins 30 13 1 16 637 584 71
Bridgend Ravens 30 12 0 18 689 714 66
Llanelli 30 12 1 17 679 723 63
Bedwas 30 12 1 17 681 830 62
Cross Keys 30 5 1 24 586 1093 36
Bargoed 30 6 0 24 576 1003 35
Neath 30 1 0 29 406 1274 3