God, how I hate going to Dave Parade. Its been a few years since the last trip, in which time the Townies have built themselves a posh (and empty) stand. Oh, and got themselves one of the most useless ticket offices in the world. Not exactly a bumper crowd, about the usual for a Gwent derby. All pay, and queues stretching for 50 yards or more. I stood in line for 20 minutes, and others didn't get into the ground until well after kick-off. Why print tickets for allocated seats when you have thousands of empty ones to choose from?
Anyway, onto the game...
Nothing more to say than that already up on the Ebbw Vale RFC website. Tony Brown, your boys took a hell of a beating. A 26-13 win at Dave Parade was more than most could have hoped for, but nothing more than was deserved.
This is our webmaster's view of the game, and since I was stood next to him we clearly saw the same game. My man of the match was Ronnie Kynes, who tackled his heart out and had the advantage of the Newport hooker picking him out at every lineout.
"A superb performance saw Ebbw Vale through to Round 3 of the SWALEC Cup at the expense of Premiership Newport. Most pundits had tipped the Black and Ambers to take the tie with ease, but, in truth, it was never even close as the fantastic Steelmen dominated every aspect of the game. An early penalty from Dorian Jones started the ball rolling and Newport simply couldn't get their game going as Ebbw put in tackle after tackle, sending their opponents backwards over the gain line time after time. Even when the Steelmen were down to 14, Dan Deardon having been harshly yellow carded for what the referee judged to be a tip-tackle, they kept up the pressure, electing to kick for the corner when 3 points seemed an easier option. It proved most fruitful, though, as a great driving maul resulted in the Newport pack descending into total disarray and Ross Jones grabbing the touchdown. Two penalties by ex-Steelman Gareth Bowen and a reply by Dorian Jones made it 11-6 to Ebbw at half time.
"The second half had barely started when Ebbw worked the ball right for Wes Cunliffe to outpace the defence, going around behind the posts to make Dorian Jones's job that little bit easier. It was 18-6, Newport looked broken, and the home supporters were expressing their fury! Another Jones penalty, and a great try by Gareth James did nothing to improve their mood. By this stage, Ebbw's forwards had total control and were pushing the home eight yards backwards. A pushover try seemed on the cards - from 22 metres out! - as Newport back-pedalled at a rate of knots and their front row shot up. Inexplicably, the referee penalised Ebbw, indicating an upwards drive! In the loose, the Ebbw back row was yards quicker to the ball, Ronnie Kynes winning a whole stream of turnovers and penalties in his best game so far in red, green and white and Nicky Coughlin, Ross Jones and Mathew WIlliams relishing the physical battle. Against the run of play, Newport finally put a decent move together and their left wing showed real pace to score. Bowen converted to make it 26-13 but that was as good as it got for the city boys as Ebbw demonstrated maturity and sound game management to run the clock down and secure a superb victory.
"As well as it being an excellent defensive performance, Ebbw posed constant problems in attack, with strength, control and aggression up front and pace and power behind.The team was:
"Charlie Simpson, Wes Cunliffe, Tristan Davies, Dan Dearden, Tom Macpherson; Dorian Jones, Gareth James; Ross Jones, Mathew Williams, Robert Sevenoaks; Damien Hudd (capt), Ashley Sweet; Nicky Coughlin, Ronnie Kynes, Ethan Matthews. Bench: Dan Goode, Ben Parry, Josh Powell, Cameron Reagan, Dai Jones, Dan Haymond, Aled James."