The pitch was heavy, it was foggy and it rained hard – perfect conditions at Eugene Cross Park for a valleys derby between Ebbw Vale and Pontypridd.
After a string of poor (ands sometimes unlucky) results, Ponty must have made themselves favourites. But they struggled to come to terms with the conditions and Ebbw’s defence, and never really threatened to take control of the game. Ebbw ran out 13-6 winners.
The foggy first half saw the bizarre sight: the ball disappearing into the foggy gloom after a huge kick by Andrew McLaughlan. Everyone stopped for a moment until it reappeared and normal service was resumed. Ebbw’s defence was magnificent again, and the pack, missing lineout guru Neil Edwards, had a good game led by John Bowd and dominated at scrum-time.
Makeshift flyhalf Bryan Shelbourne organised things well, and Nio Aiono made some storming runs in the loose. Ponty scored first but Ebbw responded well and from half-time on there really only looked like being one winner.
There’s a match report on the Ebbw Vale website and on Ponty.net, and one sentence in Saturday’s Western Mail, the paper that sponsors the league. It couldn’t find room amongst its 16 pages of build up to the Wales/France game to report on the rugby that provides the players to the national team. A disgrace.
Next game is now traditional bank holiday “local derby” game at Llandovery on Easter Saturday, and the following Tuesday, 25 March, Ebbw host Newport.
Scorers: All the points went to Simon Hunt, a great individual try, a conversion and a couple of penalties.
Man of the Match: As Danny Cipriani would have it “the whole pack from one to eight should been ***ing men of the match”.