Ebbw Vale edged out by Llandovery in engrossing Premiership clash

Ebbw Vale edged out by Llandovery in engrossing Premiership clash
Ebbw Vale edged out by Llandovery in engrossing Premiership clash

EBBW Vale were edged out 23-20 by Llandovery in a full-blooded Premiership clash at a rain-lashed Eugene Cross Park.

The Steelmen ended the game camped on the Drovers line and turned down a shot at goal in favour of going for the win.

However, Llandovery kept the hosts out with some determined defence in the 22 and Jason Strange’s men had to settle for a second successive narrow defeat after losing at the death to champions Cardiff.

Drovers full-back Jack Maynard kicked an early penalty but the Steelmen responded in the seventh minute with a superb finish from wing Ryan Davies after a strong scrum in the 22.

Maynard knocked over another penalty but it was 14-6 after 22 minutes when the Ebbw pack did their stuff again to win a penalty try thanks to a dominant scrum.

However, Llandovery were back within striking distance after half an hour when good handling led to a seven-pointer for Ioan Hughes.

Evan Lloyd booted penalties either side of half-time to make it 20-13 but the Drovers pack, who had impressively defended a five-metre lineout soon after the restart, won a penalty try with a strong drive in front of the clubhouse.

That also led to prop Joel Harries being sent to the sin bin and in his absence a strong scrum allowed Maynard to make it 23-20 from the tee.

Yet Ebbw finished on the front foot after a stupid, off-the-ball judo throw by Hughes saw the fly-half yellow-carded.

The Steelmen laid siege to the Drovers line but former Dragon Adam Warren forced a knock-on with a tackle a yard out.

Ebbw, with a wind at their backs, won a penalty with the clock in the red and opted for the corner, with Joel Powell joining Hughes in the sin bin for stopping the first drive.

However, the hosts were pinged from the second lineout and had to settle for a losing bonus.

Saturday fixtures Premiership: Carmarthen Quins v Llanelli, Merthyr v Swansea, Pontypridd v Aberavon, RGC v Cardiff.

Championship: Bargoed v Maesteg Quins, Bedwas v Cardiff Met, Glamorgan Wanderers v Ystalyfera, Narberth v Beddau, Tata Steel v Pontypool, Trebanos v Neath, Ystrad Rhondda v Cross Keys.