Rhys Jones clearing for The Wanderers
Photographer: Alyn Humphreys
Ebbw Vale 13
Glamorgan Wanderers 13
“It’s never going to be easy to come away with something from Ebbw Vale and we showed a real fighting spirit that will take us nicely into next week’s semi” commented Coach Chris Ower after the Wanderers had taken a share of the spoils at Eugene Cross Park. Head coach Richard Hodges was in reflective mood “I warned some players that their places for next week are in jeopardy if discipline was lacking and we’ll be watching the DVD with interest” he said.
On a bitterly cold and wet afternoon in Ebbw Vale the visitors had first use of the wind and rain. A deep kick from the home side was well fielded by Rhys Jones and his break and kick ahead took play into the Steelmen’s 22. The home side moved the ball back into Wanderers territory and Bryan Shelbourne opened the home side account with a penalty as the visitors were caught offside. Wanderers hit straight back. The Vale scrum half was wrapped up by a tackle from Nick Kelly and James Thomas levelled the score after the home side failed to release the ball. The home side pack was starting to exert a lot of pressure and several driving mauls put the Wanderers defence under strain. Ebbw declined a couple of penalty chances in favour of a lineout drive but some superb work by the wanderers pack and tackling by the visitors backs prevented the home side from crossing the line. After 15 minutes the Steelmen did extend their lead after another Wanderers offence at a ruck gave Shelbourne the chance to land a penalty and the home side lead 6-3. The Wanderers began to gain some possession and started to pose a real threat. A chip ahead by Mark Roper was gathered by James Thomas and the home side were caught offside at the subsequent ruck preventing a score. Thomas stepped up for the kick but he saw his attempt hit the post and Ebbw cleared the danger. The Wanderers continued to press the home side back into their 22 and after another penalty conceded by the home side the visitors pack elected for the drive from the lineout. The Wanderers pack drove several mauls forward and despite some spirited home side defence Nathan Trevett was able to crash over for the try. Thomas converted and the visitors were in front 6-10. The Wanderers continued to dominate the territory using the wind to keep the Steelmen back in their own half but as with most of the afternoon the defences were on top and despite several driving efforts the visitors could not extend the lead and the sides went into halftime at 6-10.
Nathan Trevett on the charge.
The Wanderers made several changes at the break but they found themselves very much on the back foot. The Vale forwards were monopolising the possession and territory and the first 20 minutes of the half were characterised by the home side driving time and time again but the Wanderers defence resisted and defended heroically on their own line. On numerous occasions just when it seemed that the defence would concede points the Wanderers dug deep and somehow recovered the ball and relieved the pressure. With 13 minutes to go in the game the deadlock was eventually broken. A visitor’s scrum deep in the 22 resulted in a turn over at the following ruck and the Steelmen were able to cross for any easy try under the posts. Shelbourne converted and it seemed that the home side would take the points. From the kick off the Wanderers made a rare foray into the opposition half and they were awarded a penalty at a scrum. Rhys Jones attempted to level the scores but his penalty shot dropped short. Shelbourne saw a long range penalty for the home side also drop short in the dying minutes of the game but the home side then saw the visitors mount another rare attack and Jones had a chance to level the scores. He calmly stepped up and slotted over the penalty from 30 metres and the points were deservedly shared.
Author: Alyn Humphreys
Wanderers Development XV 23
Dings Crusaders 3
Trys - James Thatcher, Alex Murphy, Elliot Foils
Cons/Pens: Gareth Williams-Davies
Development Head Coach Paul Newman said "All credit to our defence, this was crucial in fencing out Dings Crusaders".
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