Ebbw Vale took on Barking in the first pre-season friendly last Saturday. Nothing friendly about it though.
Plenty of fire and quite a bit of fisticuffs too. Some encouraging signs, but any team coached by Alex Codling is going to be useful and Barking were no exception. Their big pack bested Ebbw, and some late livewire tries meant that Ebbw went down 7-20.
The cricket still have use of Eugene Cross Park, so Brynmawr school’s pitch was used instead. Really good facilities, far better than I remember from my school days. REL’s take on the day is here.
As usual, thanks to Graham for his pictures that I pinch for my Ebbw rugby posts. His gallery is here.
Next Saturday is the second pre-season friendly, down at Bonymaen, just round the corner from the in-laws. Needless to say, I’ll be there.
As the season proper, the fixtures have finally been announced. First game is down at Glamorgan Wanderers (they of the ‘passive’ scrums) on Bank Holiday weekend. The end of season sees a new playoff between the top eight teams in the Premiership. Don’t quite know what the point of it is.
This season will also see the first British and Irish Cup. The top six teams from last season’s Premiership will take part, further messing up the fixture list. I don’t object to the Cup, but the fact that the qualification criteria weren’t established until part way through last season was a bit iffy, to say the least.