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Pontypridd 25 vs Ebbw Vale 26

Sat 30th December, 14:30, Sardis Road
Indigo Premiership

Pontypridd slipped to defeat following a dramatic comeback by Ebbw Vale as The Steelmen claimed a bonus point win at Sardis Road.

A late try from replacement Jon Evans sealed the win for the Steelmen, this was despite Ponty leading 25-5 in the second half following tries from McCauley Rowley, Liam Lloyd and Ryan Wilkins.

The visitors opened the scoring after seven minutes through a rolling maul when hooker Joe Franchi dotted down, the conversion by fly-half Evan Lloyd went wide.

An immediate response followed for Ponty, fly-half Ben Burnell gave a miss-pass to winger McCauley Rowley who dotted down in the corner and fullback Josh Phillips’ conversion gave Ponty the lead 7-5 after 10 minutes.

A second try soon followed for the hosts, this time a grubber kick from inside centre Ryan Wilkins bounced in Ponty’s direction evading Ebbw fullback Morgan Richards and winger Liam Lloyd gathered to score.

Josh Phillips kicked the conversion before adding two penalties and the Valley Commandos led by 15 points, 20-15 after 25 minutes.

It was time for the defence to show it’s worth in the second quarter as the visitors looked for their second try through their most potent weapon – the rolling maul. Ponty defended it superbly to force the turnover awarded by referee Gareth Newman.

Ebbw continued to put pressure on Ponty before a brilliant jackal turnover from openside flanker Cai James won the ball back for the home side, this was following a break from visiting outside centre Ethan Phillips. The defensive effort in the closing stages of the first half meant Ponty had a 20 points to 5 lead at the break.

HALF TIME – Pontypridd 20-5 Ebbw Vale

Following a shaky restart gather which saw Ebbw regain possession immediately, replacement Cally James joined in at the breakdown and won a superb turnover inside his own 22. Ponty cleared their lines into touch and Chris Dicomidis pinched the Ebbw lineout that followed. The Steelmen did regain possession before Cally James won his second turnover in five minutes to halt the Ebbw attack.

A third try for the hosts came in the 48th minute when Ryan Wilkins kicked ahead, the loose ball was gathered by McCauley Rowley and he provided the try scoring pass back to Wilkins, Phillips’ conversion drifted wide.

Ebbw eventually crossed for their second try of the afternoon when winger Carrick McDonough side-stepped his way over the line, fly-half Lloyd added the extras to reduce the deficit from the away side’s perspective to 25-12.

The visitors picked up their third try with 10 minutes left on the clock through replacement hooker Ieuan Morris – the rolling maul was working wonders for Ebbw Vale, Lloyd’s second conversion brought them to within one score at 25 points to 19.

With less than 5 minutes to go, Ebbw scrum half Jon Evans sniped over for their bonus point try, with Lloyd’s conversion proving to be the difference between the two sides as The Steelmen held on for the win by a single point.

A brilliant game of rugby to finish 2023, with Ebbw claiming a 26-25 win. Ponty start 2024 by travelling to defending champions Llandovery on January 6th, before returning to Sardis Road a week later to welcome Neath on the 13th.

FULL TIME – Pontypridd 25-26 Ebbw Vale (30/12/2023)

Match report – Iestyn Thomas


15. Josh Phillips. 14. Liam Lloyd. 13. Garyn Smith. 12. Ryan Wilkins (Dale Stuckey). 11. McCauley Rowley. 10. Ben Burnell. 9. Harvey Nash (Joel Raikes).

1. Ben Stephens (Tom Devine). 2. Rob Jones (Curtis Greenslade). 3. Tom Harper (Morgan Bosanko). 4. Macauley Cook. 5. Chris Dicomidis (Kristian Parker). 6. Aled Ward (Cally James). 7. Cai James. 8. Joe Miles.

Subs: 16. Curtis Greenslade. 17. Tom Devine. 18. Morgan Bosanko. 19. Kristian Parker. 20. Cally James. 21. Joel Raikes. 22. Dale Stuckey. 23. Louis Rochefort-Shugar.

Tries: McCauley Rowley, Liam Lloyd, Ryan Wilkins

Conversions: Josh Phillips x 2

Penalties: Josh Phillips x 2


15. Morgan Richards. 14. Carrick McDonough. 13. Ethan Phillips. 12. Dom Franchi. 11. Harry Rees-Weldon. 10. Evan Lloyd. 9. Rory Harries.

1. Luke Garrett. 2. Joe Franchi (c). 3. Harry Drane. 4. Dylan Bartlett. 5. Curtis Gregory. 6. Owen Conquer. 7. Lewis Young. 8. Alex Howes.

Subs: 16. Ieuan Morris. 17. Morgan Davies. 18. Owen Hatherill. 19. Jakub Malecki. 20. Kobi Rees. 21. Jon Evans. 22. Amir Jiwa-Walji. 23. Ewan McIntyre.

Tries: Joe Franchi, Carrick McDonough, Ieuan Morris, Jon Evans

Conversions: Evan Lloyd x 3

Referee: Gareth Newman

Assistant referees: 1 – John Darcy, 2 – Marcus Caudle

Golden Bob Man of the Match: Joe Miles

WRU Man of the Match: Tom Harper