Matches between these two Gwent clubs have always been remarkably close, this the sixth successsive result with never more than six points differnce. Bedwas certainly created opportunities but did not clinically finish, the defeat producing a bonus point dropping the club to seventh position.
The match could have started well but a Bedwas penalty attempt went wide and a combined counter attack put Matthew Pizey in at the corner, but he was adjudged foot in touch. Vale, placed third in the Division, repeatedly used their heavyweight power pack to gain ground and eventually crossed the line only for the try to be ruled out for being held up. Bedwas ran well but twice in succession knock ons snuffed out potential scoring moves.
Bedwas found themselves aman down when centre (and Captain) John Welch was sin-binned for a swinginging arm tackle. Vale scrum half Bryan Shelbourne slotting the resultant 29th minute penalty. They took further advantage to use their driving mauls and line outs to the line, a take and drive from a lineout putting massive prop Huw Gustafson (on loan from Gwent Dragons) over for a try. A late Bedwas penalty went wide for a half time score of 8-0 to Vale, a half in which both sides compounded their many errors in passing and handling.
The second half opened with Bedwas full back Stuart Thomas landing a fine 36 metre penalty but again the pedestrian but effective Vale driving mauls took their toll with Bedwas defending well for a long period. Eventually, however, Vale piled over for a second Gustafson try, Shelbourne converting to lead 15-3. This proved to be Vale's last score of the afternoon prompting Bedwas to begin bringing on replacements, two successful well taken Stuart Thomas penalties reducing the arrears. Bedwas broke the home defence but frustratingly knocked on at the crucial moment.
A Stuart Thomas 35 metre angled penalty with just eight minutes left took Bedwas within three points and the match could have gone either way particularly when home flanker/captain John Bowd was sinbinned for repeatedly killing the ball. Both sides attacked but attacks ended in breakdowns. Vale were awarded an injury time penalty and opted for a five metre take and drive and the 'last play' came to nothing. A disappointing result for Bedwas who next have two tough matches away to Neath and home to Llanelli on 27 October and 3 November respectively.
Bedwas coach Steve Law
'There wasnt much in it but we were unable to combat their driving lineout and that was the only marked difference between the two sides. I could not fault the players effort and committment but disappointed as we could have got a result.'
Ebbw Vale coach Patrick Horgan
'Disappointed that our performance produced so many forced and unforced errors but perhaps it reflected the difficult week we have had to put a strong team together to face Bedwas with so many of our squad unavailable. The results against Neath and then Bedwas shows we have the potential to stay near the top of the Division and we are playing better rugby this season.'
Stuart Thomas, Matthew Pizey, Phil Dollman, John Welch, Gareth Dare, Jason Tovey, James Pizey, John Tilley, Peter Harrison, Aled Williams, Craig Powell, Adam Brown, Phil Sargent Robert Downes, Andrew Tibbats.
Replacements: Brian Edwards (for Harrison 58 mins), Ceiron Jenkins (for Williams 20 mins), Gareth Leonard (for Tilley 70 mins), Neil Lewis (for Downes 63 mins), Rhodri Edwards (for Powell 58 mins), Simon Jones (for James Pizey 53 mins), Dai Atkins (not used).