Survival hopes on a very slim thread after heavy defeat at Ebbw Vale

Ebbw Vale RFC 47 Bedwas RFC 24
Principality Welsh Premiership, Saturday 20th April 2019.
Match report and photography by Ian Lovell.
Bonus point wins for nearest rivals Llanelli and Bridgend together with this beating by Ebbw Vale leaves Bedwas hopes of survival hanging by a very slim thread.
On a warm, sunny Easter Saturday afternoon Bedwas wilted in the second half sunshine as the hosts powered past them in a ruthless display to rack up a bonus point win.
Bedwas started well and notched the first points of the afternoon via a Joe Scrivens penalty after Ebbw were penalised at a scrum. Ebbw’s response was quick and decisive as left wing Stefan Thomas crossed for a try, Rhys Jones’ conversion hit an upright and bounced out.
Bedwas hit back through lock forward who barged has way over from close range to dot down on the touchline, the assistant referee awarding the try with the referee unable to see the grounding. Scrivens added the extras to increase the lead.
Defences held out for the next 18 minutes as both sides defended well but Ebbw finally broke through as pacy right winger Dafydd Howells ran through for a try converted by Jones. Ebbw began to dominate and just before half time centre Paul King burst through for try converted by Jones for a score of 19 points to 10 at half time.
Bedwas hoped for an early score in the second half but the sin binning of Adam Williams for a high elbow gave the home side the numerical advantage which was exploited by loose head prop Luke Garrett crossing for his sides fourth and bonus point earning try. Rhys Jones added the extras.
Dafydd Howells’ second try of the afternoon, improved upon by Jones stretched the home lead further before Bedwas made a rash of substitutions between 53 and 59 minutes.
Fresh legs initially stemmed the flow before back replacement David Rubasniak added his sides 6th try of the afternoon again converted by Jones put the game safely into Ebbw hands. A seventh Ebbw try and a third from Dafydd Howells after 73 minutes converted by Ross Jones rubbed the salt into Bedwas wounds still further.
With five minutes to play Ebbw’s Rubasniak was sinbinned giving Bedwas hope that a late revival might at least earn a four try bonus point. These hopes were answered by Dale Rogers who crossed for a try converted by Jacob Chilcott.
Bedwas pressed for a third try and foul play saw Ebbw replacement prop Ross Jones sin binned and from a scrum the ball was quickly fed wide for Lewis Bowden to drift in for a try again converted by Chilcott.
Time was not on Bedwas’ side and efforts to clinch that valuable 4th try were beaten by the shrill blast of the referees whistle as he ended proceedings.
After the game Head Coach Stefan Sankala lamented his sides’ collapse in an interview for the Western Mail.
“This defeat hurts” he said. “I certainly didn’t see it coming, the way we folded and Ebbw Vale dominated large parts of that game was extremely disappointing. Bridgend and Llanelli picking up maximum points puts us in the back seat. We now have to rely on results elsewhere as well as pick up 10 points in the last two games. The way things are going right now I think it’ll be extremely difficult. Aberavon (next week) will be a difficult place to go, it’ll be backs against the wall stuff, we just need to prepare well and give all we’ve got.”

Images from this game can be found at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bedwasrfc/

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