17 year old James Loxton (Wales Under 18's & Cardiff Blues Academy) made a try scoring debut and put in a man of the match performance in the Wanderers victory over Ebbw Vale.
For more action pics from The Wanderers v Ebbw Vale visit http://flickr.com/search/?q=gwrfc&page=9
Photographer: Alyn Humphreys
Glamorgan Wanderers 16
Ebbw Vale 8
“The character of the side really came through” said a jubilant coach Bob Newman after the Wanderers withstood a second half assault from second place visitors Ebbw Vale, to emerge with another victory.
On a cold but bright afternoon both sides showed their intent on playing rugby. The Wanderers were on the attack early on but the Ebbw Vale defence was equal to the task. Stand in skipper Harry Trelawney was getting his backs into the game and centres Simon Rosser and Aled James made early inroads. After 8 minutes the home side were first on the scoreboard after a collapsed scrum, Aled James landing the penalty. With the pace of the game really picking up the Wanderers came close to an opening try as “Gaffa” Morris was just denied on the Steelmen’s line, after a chase from a kick from James Loxton. The lead was extended soon afterwards following an offence at a ruck. Aled James stepped up and landed a thirty metre penalty. The majority of the game was played between the 22’s as both sides looked for openings but the game really came to life after ½ an hour when Ebbw were on the attack. Superb work at a ruck on the Wanderer’s 22 by Gareth Alexander resulted in a turnover. Quick hands by the Wanderers forwards set Steve Cullen away up the touchline and James Loxton, on his Wanderers debut, was on hand to outpace the defence to score a superb opening try. Aled James converted and the Wanderers lead 13-0. The home side grew in confidence and were straight on the attack again. The forwards carried the ball through the phases and Mark Roper chipped into the dead ball area for his backs to chase. Both Steve Cullen and Simon Rosser gave pursuit but they were denied as the ball just went dead. Fortunately the referee had spotted the Vale backs offside and James was handed an easy penalty to give the Wanderers a 16 point lead. The half ended with the Steelmen on the attack, a sign of things to come, but the Wanderers held firm to lead at the break 16-0.
Ebbw Vale made a couple of personnel changes at half-time and in keeping with a team second in the division they picked up their game. The visitor’s forwards started to impress themselves on the Wanderers eight and following a move from a lineout, an offence at a ruck gave the Visitors their first three points. Their revival was hindered by the sin-binning of flanker Aiono soon afterwards but they were having the majority of the game. The Wanderers defence was working overtime with man of the match Ben Rose getting through a huge amount of work at the breakdown. The pressure on the home side was beginning to tell and after a series of penalties hooker Richard Emms was given 10 minutes in the sin bin. Ebbw Vale were quick to seize on their advantage. Their forwards drove into the heart of the home side 22 and they were rewarded soon afterwards with a pushover try scored by number eight Rhys Williams. The conversion was missed and crucially the Steelmen were still 8 points adrift. The assault on the Wanderers line continued with the home side having very few visits to the Vale 22. Time and time again the defence held firm and in the dying minutes of the game the Wanderers were reduced to 14 again when replacement prop Mathew Russell was sent to the bin. Ebbw took a chance to get a losing bonus point but the penalty kick went wide. The assault on the line continued but the Wanderers defence stood firm to record another victory.