It was a disappointing second half at the Ciner Glass Community Stadium from Pontypridd’s point of view as Ebbw Vale ran out 32-10 winners in the Welsh Premiership.
Despite a first half try from Tom Devine, Ebbw ran in three second half tries with Gethin Williams, Joe Franchi and Carrick McDonough crossing after a Jonathan Evans’ first half score.
Ebbw dominated territory in the opening stages although they couldn’t find a way to break the Ponty defence.
Number 8 Joe Miles made a break from his own half for Ponty’s first chance of the evening, quick ball saw Joseph Scrivens put a kick in behind the Ebbw defence.
A strong chase from winger Ewan Skuse and some strong counter rucking from the Ponty backrow ensured a chance inside the 22. The ball was spun out to winger Niko Matawalu who produced a sublime offload as loosehead prop Tom Devine gathered to score the first points of the contest, Scrivens added the extras to give the visitors a 7-0 lead.
Ebbw were reduced to 14 men immediately following the restart with blindside flanker Andrew Mann being shown a yellow card following a tackle off the ball on Ponty fly-half Scrivens.
Eventually Ebbw responded with their first points of the evening with fly-half Keiran Meek converting a penalty after Ponty captain Kristian Parker didn’t roll away in the tackle.
Scrivens replied with a penalty of his own following a scrum decision going Ponty’s way and they led 10-3 after half an hour.
The hosts picked up their first try of the evening on the stroke of half-time with scrum-half Jonathan Evans dotting down from short range. Meek added the conversion to level the scores at 10-all.
Fly-half Meek kicked a 50/22 after the restart to give the hosts a solid platform with an attacking lineout, although the Ponty defence held off the attacking maul.
Ebbw took the lead before the break with Meek adding his second penalty giving the hosts a 13-10 lead.
HALF TIME – Ebbw Vale 13-10 Pontypridd
The TMO was called upon at the start of the second half as Ebbw winger Amir Jiwa Walji was shown a yellow card for a high tackle.
Although, it was Ebbw who got the next score when a cross-field kick from Meek landed in winger Carrick McDonough’s hands and he avoided the tackle of Skuse and gave an inside ball to flanker Gethin Williams who scored a second try for the hosts. The conversion by Meek extended the home side’s lead to 10 after 47 minutes.
Ponty’s lineout struggled to fire in the second half with Ebbw maintaining most of the possession, the hosts added a third try with hooker Joe Franchi crossing over from a rolling maul.
Ponty captain Kristian Parker was shown a yellow card and as Ebbw attempted a quick tap into touch, Matawalu intercepted and attempted to run the length of the field. However, he was stopped on halfway by the chasing Ebbw defenders.
The hosts sealed the win with a bonus point when McDonough crossed from a grubber kick from replacement Evan Lloyd as the home side claimed victory.
FULL TIME – Ebbw Vale 32-10 Pontypridd (6/4/2023)
Match report – Iestyn Thomas
15. Iestyn Griffiths. 14. Niko Matawalu. 13. Ceri Morris. 12. Jamie Murphy (Tommy Morgan). 11. Ewan Skuse (Sam Hayman). 10. Joseph Scrivens. 9. Joel Raikes (Rory Harries).
1. Tom Devine (Ben Stepehns). 2. Rob Jones (Nathan Huish). 3. Tom Harper (Morgan Bosanko). 4. Kristian Parker (c). 5. Mitch Barnard (Cai James). 6. Aled Ward. 7. Sion Parry (Sam Evans). 8. Joe Miles
Subs: 16. Nathan Huish. 17. Ben Stephens. 18. Morgan Bosanko. 19. Cai James. 20. Sam Evans. 21. Rory Harries. 22. Tommy Morgan. 23. Sam Hayman
Try: Tom Devine
Conversion: Joseph Scrivens
Penalty: Joseph Scrivens
Yellow Card: Kristian Parker
EBBW VALE –
15. Morgan Richards. 14. Carrick McDonough. 13. Ethan Phillips. 12. Dom Franchi. 11. Amir Jiwa Walji. 10. Kieran Meek. 9. Jonathan Evans
1. Luke Garrett. 2. Joe Franchi (c). 3. Dave Whiting. 4. Dylan Bartlett. 5. Curtis Gregory. 6. Andrew Mann. 7. Gethin Williams. 8. Ryan Jenkins
Subs: 16. Rhys Francis. 17. Charley Kearns. 18. Harry Drane. 19. Chad Thomas. 20. Lewis Young. 21. Matthew Flanagan. 22. Evan Lloyd. 23. Amir Saleh
Tries: Jonathan Evans, Gethin Williams, Joe Franchi, Carrick McDonough
Conversions: Kieran Meek x 3
Penalties: Kieran Meek x 2
Yellow Cards: Andrew Mann, Amir Jiwa Walji
Referee: Adam Jones
Assistant referees: 1 – John Darcy, 2 – Gareth Davies, 3 – Mark Jones
TMO: Greg Morgan
WRU Man of the Match: Joe Miles