Ebbw Vale crashed out of the Konica Minolta Cup last Saturday, going down at Aberavon in front of the S4C cameras 22-32.
It was a case of maybe, as a very makeshift Ebbw side (injury-ravaged is the technical term) dominated large parts of the game. The kicking game let the team down though, with penalty kicks aplenty being missed. Despite that Ebbw were 17-10 up at half time. An interception try let the Wizards back in though, and a couple of key injuries weakened the pack which let Aberavon start to dominate.
The difference was a couple of key moments and the bounce of the ball. Nio Aiono had a great game but fumbled a yard short of the line; an Aberavon kick and chase looked like it had no chance until the ball bounced back to the pursuing Aberavon player when it should have done over the dead ball line. Then a final good try at the death for Ebbw was disallowed; it wouldn’t have changed the result but would have made it more respectable.
Team: Ebbw Vale: A McLaughlan; J R Williams (J Pike 25), K Owen, A Bramwell, A Bevan (R Llewellyn 79); C Anderson (G Roberts 79), B Shelbourne; I George (A Coundley 60), M Williams, A Lott (M Jones 29-39), M Griffin (W Jones 62), W Thomas, N Aiono, J Bowd (capt) (R Dicks 70), J McPhail.
Scorers: Three tries for Andrew McLaughlan and one for Andrew Bevan; a single conversion for Chris Anderson with misses aplenty for Anderson, Bramwell and Shelbourne.
My man of the match: Nio Aiono, but honorable mention to Ian George, who until he went off injured completely dominated the scrum.
Reports on the Ebbw Vale website and icwales.
So the semi-final lineup is:
Aberavon v Pontypridd
Glamorgan Wanderers v Neath
As the cliché goes, we can now concentrate on the league, where second place is probably beyond us but third is very achievable. The remaining fixtures are:
Llanelli, away, Saturday 12 April
Aberavon, home, Tuesday 15 April
Glamorgan Wanderers, home, Saturday 19 April
Cross Keys, home, Saturday 26 April
Swansea, away, Friday 2 May