At a cold Eugene Cross Park last night, Ebbw Vale were well beaten by Llanelli, 17-25. The red pack (well, they’re not ‘scarlets’ are they?) dominated throughout, and #10 Luke Richards hoofed the ball so often the ball was heard to yell “ouch”!
Llanelli dominated the set pieces, and under the circumstances it was bizarre to see Ebbw opt for a scrum in their own half when awarded a penalty. Ebbw duly got shoved off the ball and conceded a penalty which Llanelli kicked.
It wasn’t a night for good handling, as Ebbw’s frequent drops demonstrated. Llanelli played with four deep defenders forcing Ebbw to play with ball in hand and waited for the mistakes to come; which they did. Llanelli on the other hand kicked for position all the time. To my recollection Richards made just two passes all night, one to his centre and one for an interception try.
Ebbw had a purple patch (well, puce anyway) early in the second half when they got within sniffing distance of the Llanelli line, but mistakes and a few well-judged hands in the ruck prevented Ebbw from getting the score which could have made it closer.
Management of substitutes went awry: all Ebbw's subs were used 10 minutes before the end. A late injury meant that Ebbw ended the game with just 14 on the field. Would have been more embarrassing if we had really been in with a chance at the death.
Scorers: Tries for Shaun Powell and Morgan Allen, two conversions and a penalty for Andrew Williams.
Team: Dai Langdon, Andrew McLaughlan, Kristian Owen (c), Shaun Powell, Andrew Bevan; Andrew Williams, Ieuan Evans; Aaron Coundley, Mathew Williams, Anthony Lott; Gavin Lucas, Nick Eaves; Jon Griffiths, Rhys Jenkins, Morgan Allen. Subs: Richard Wilkes, Marc Jones, Gareth Jones, Matthew Griffin, Llyr Lane, Peter Smith, Dai Absolom.
My man of the match: Andrew Williams, who distributed the ball well and gave Ebbw lots of territorial advantage early in the second half, which unfortunately was not capitalised on.
Ebbw Vales’ next game is at home to Aberavon on Saturday, 6 December, 2:30 kickoff.