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Ebbw Vale 6 vs Pontypridd 17

Fri 1st September, 19:30, Eugene Cross Park
Principality Premiership

Committing errors, Ponty lost ground early on but then put together some phases of attack, allowing outside half Ceri Sweeney a mid distance pot at goal, which fell wide of the mark. Reflecting an evenly balanced start to the contest, home outside half Dorian Jones also put a penalty attempt wide, the first ten minutes remaining scoreless.

Ponty built up momentum with a wide attack but then lost possession, allowing Ebbw to counter and apply more pressure with a charge down of a clearance kick, but failing to cut through for a score. There were plenty of thrills thus far but also plenty of spills, with the referee’s whistle punctuating play. The home side continued to press, but spurning scoring opportunities through costly errors.

The breakthrough came on twenty-two minutes when Ponty set up a line-out drive with prop Jon Elley claiming the touchdown. The visitors struck again from the restart, launching a wide counter attack with winger Lewis Williams racing in for a try. Just as the visitors seemed to be pulling clear, Ebbw intercepted in midfield to apply pressure, but the Ponty defence holding firm. A physical but often scrappy encounter continued to ebb and flow, the visitors just maintaining the edge and looking good for their interval lead of 0pts to 10.

The home team put early second half points on the board as outside half Jones kicked a simple penalty and then maintained pressure by kicking for position.  Ponty resisted and attempted to counter, bringing their back three runners into play. The contest was close-fought, Ebbw putting a squeeze on the set pieces and allowing Jones to launch another penalty kick through the posts.

With their scrum half Dai Jones dispatched to the sin-bin, the home team back tracked into their own twenty-two, Ponty taking advantage with a period of pressure, but failing to achieve a breakthrough. It was nip and tuck as Ponty lock Josh Hawkins saw yellow with his team then forced to retreat, going into the final quarter of the game.

Having soaked up pressure, the visitors turned over possession to counter with intent, winger Dale Stuckey just in touch as he ran in to score. Ponty maintained a foothold in the home half, the game still balanced on a knife edge going into its final ten minutes. Ebbw were next up on the attack, driving relentlessly to their opponents’ line, but a try disallowed for a forward pass. The contest was high on tension if not on quality as both teams scrapped it out to the very end.

It was Ponty who finished on a high, pressing into the home twenty-two and putting the ball wide for winger Lewis Williams to arc in for a try behind the posts, converted by replacement Diggy Bird. A late repost by the home team came to nothing, Ponty holding out for a valuable win by 6pts to 17.

Ebbw Vale:

15.Dan Haymond. 14.Steffan Thomas. 13.Srdan Majkic (Tom Hoppe). 12.Dom Franchi (Dai Langdon). 11.Will Talbot-Davies. 10.Dorian Jones. 9.Dai Jones (Carl Lewis).

1.Joel Harries (Ian George). 2.Joe Franchi (Will Haly). 3.Rob Sevenoaks (Dean Brooker). 4.Kristian Parker (Jon Davies). 5.Ashley Sweet. 6.Rhys Clarke. 7.Ronny Kynes – cpt (Owen Jones). 8.Cameron Regan.

Pen: Jones (41, 51)

Pontypridd:

15.Lloyd Rowlands. 14.Lewis Williams. 13.Cameron Lewis (Diggy Bird). 12.Dafydd Lockyer – cpt. 11.Dale Stuckey. 10.Ceri Sweeney. 9.Dane Blacker (Wayne Evans).

1.Chris Phillips (Huw Owen). 2.Huw Dowden (Joe Page). 3.Jon Elley (Will Davies-King). 4.Josh Hawkins (Callum Bradbury). 5.Chris Dicomidis. 6.Shane Lewis-Hughes. 7.Rhys Shellard. 8.Morgan Sieniawski (Mason Roderick).

Tries: Elley (22); Williams (24, 78)

Con: Bird (78)

WRU man of the match: Shane Lewis-Hughes

Referee:-  Gwyn Morris