A late Keiran Meek penalty gave Ebbw Vale the victory despite a Pontypridd comeback
The opening score arrived after three minutes following a misplaced goal-line drop out from Pontypridd fullback Joseph Scrivens which gave Ebbw Vale the platform to attack.
Originally, they were playing phases tight and direct to progress in the Ponty 22, although when the ball was spun out to the backs, outside centre Ethan Phillips exposed a gap in the home side’s defence to score in the corner.
Ponty’s initial response was a good one as Ben Burnell kicked his first penalty of the afternoon.
The home team disturbed the lineout before Burnell missed a kick at goal following a penalty for holding on.
Ebbw responded with their second try of the afternoon with Carrick McDonough getting on the end of a neat grubber kick from fly-half Evan Lloyd to extend the lead to seven.
A third try followed for the visitors after a brilliant first phase score from the scrum with McDonough making the initial break before a superb offload to fullback Morgan Richards who dotted down under the posts.
Evan Lloyd added his first conversion at the third attempt as the away side led 17-3.
Lloyd missed a penalty but Ebbw Vale dominated possession and territory in the opening half an hour.
Ponty did manage to pick up their first try of the game on the stroke of halftime after an offload from winger Niko Matawalu who gave fullback Scrivens plenty of space to roam. Quick ball from the hosts and hooker Rob Jones powered over, fly-half Ben Burnell added the extras as both sides went to the halftime break with Pontypridd trailing 17-10.
HALF TIME – Pontypridd 10-17 Ebbw Vale
Ebbw try scorer Richards was sent to the sin bin in the 44th minute following a professional foul on scrum-half Rory Harries.
After an attempt to roll over the line with the maul, they got over the line on the second attempt with hooker Jones dotting down for his second of the afternoon, Burnell’s conversion went wide as the visitors stayed in front.
Ponty inside centre Ceri Morris was sent to the sinbin after referee Jason Bessant gave the hosts a team warning following several penalties in their own 22.
A third try for the hosts appeared with Morris in the bin, after a dominant scrum saw number 8 Aled Ward scoring as the scrum went against the head. Fly-half Burnell added a brilliant touchline conversion to give Ponty the lead for the first time.
His opposite number Lloyd added three points as Ponty led by two points with the game heading to the final quarter. Visiting fullback Richards had his long-range effort drift wide a little later.
In the 79th minute replacement Keiran Meek gave the visitors the lead and despite a half break from Ponty winger Dale Stuckey, it wasn’t enough as Ebbw Vale picked up a win at Sardis Road by 23 points to 22.
FULL TIME – Pontypridd 22-23 Ebbw Vale (10/12/2022)
Match report – Iestyn Thomas
15. Joseph Scrivens (Lloyd Rowlands). 14. Niko Matawalu. 13. Jordan Howells (Tommy Morgan). 12. Ceri Morris. 11. Dale Stuckey. 10. Ben Burnell. 9. Rory Harries (Lucus Welch).
1. Ben Stephens (Morgan Bosanko). 2. Rob Jones (Nathan Huish). 3. Tom Harper (Garyn Daniel). 4. Kristian Parker (c). 5. James Little. 6. Cai James (Sam Evans). 7. Sion Parry. 8. Aled Ward (Chris Dicomidis).
Subs: 16. Nathan Huish. 17. Morgan Bosanko. 18. Garyn Daniel. 19. Chris Dicomidis. 20. Sam Evans. 21. Lucus Welch. 22. Tommy Morgan. 23. Lloyd Rowlands
Tries: Rob Jones x 2, Aled Ward
Conversions: Burnell x 2
Ebbw Vale –
15. Morgan Richards. 14. Carrick McDonough. 13. Ethan Phillips. 12. Dom Franchi. 11. Amir Jiwa Walji. 10. Evan Lloyd. 9. Matthew Flanagan
1. Charlie Kearns. 2. Joe Franchi (c). 3. Dave Whiting. 4. Dylan Bartlett. 5. Andrew Mann. 6. Chad Thomas. 7. Gethin Williams. 8. Ryan Jenkins
Subs: 16. Rhys Francis. 17. Luke Garrett. 18. Adam Court. 19. Curtis Gregory. 20. Morgan Thomas. 21. Jon Evans. 22. Keiran Meek. 23. Ryan Davies
Tries: Ethan Phillips, Carrick McDonough, Morgan Richards
Conversion: Evan Lloyd
Penalties: Evan Lloyd, Keiran Meek
Referee: Jason Bessant
Assistant referees: 1 – Gareth Newman, 2 – Martyn Jones
Golden Bob Man of the Match: Rob Jones
WRU Man of the Match: Rob Jones