By: Paul Hopkins
A spirited last quarter wasn’t enough for the All Whites as they fell to a 14-28 defeat to Ebbw Vale at a chilly Eugene Cross Park.
The home side started brightly and number eight Cameron Regan charged into the twenty-two, before the backs got quick ball out wide for winger Paul King to score. Fly half Rhys Jones converted.
Rhys Jones had a chance to extend the lead with a penalty goal after offside in the Swansea midfield, but his effort drifted wide of the posts.
The Ebbw onslaught up front continued and they would have scored a try, but centre Carl Meyer dropped a pass in midfield, as the home side looked to exploit a three man overlap out wide.
But there was no stopping flanker Ronny Kynes, who squeezed over for a try against the base of the post. Rhys Jones converted.
Prop Tom Sloane made good yards in midfield and winger Andrew Claypole looked set to score out wide, but he was tackled into touch. The visitors stole the lineout, but the move came to nothing as Sloane was penalised for holding on after the tackle.
Scrum half Tom Ham made a rare dart forward for the Whites and number eight Duane Eager provided support, before Claypole spotted a gap in midfield to race over for a try. Full back Luke Griffiths converted.
Ebbw Vale responded immediately to the setback when Meyer collected a pass in midfield, before weaving his way past three defenders to score. Rhys Jones converted.
Half-time:- Ebbw Vale 21 Swansea 7
A powerful rolling maul by the Ebbw pack forced the Whites’ defence offside. Rhys Jones found touch on the twenty-two and the home side inched towards the line with scrum half Dai Jones held up a metre short.
The ball spilled loose at the resulting scrum five, but a professional foul by Eager earned him a yellow card. Rhys Jones chipped to the corner and from the lineout deliberate offside by hooker Sion Jones saw him serve 10 minutes in the sin bin.
From the second lineout, prop Joel Harris crashed over for Ebbw’s bonus point try, which Rhys Jones converted.
Ill-discipline at the scrum by prop Rob Sevenoaks saw the home side reduced to 14 men, but the visitors were turned over at the maul.
The card signalled a change in momentum as Swansea gained the upper hand in the forward exchanges. The visitors were inches from scoring, but Eager was held up over the line.
Finally Swansea’s dominance paid off as Eager powered over the line for a try from close range. Griffiths converted.
It wasn’t enough though and Swansea were unable to find a losing bonus point try after a long stoppage while Griffiths received treatment on the field.
Next up for Ebbw Vale is a home match against Cross Keys, while Swansea host Pontypridd.
Full-time:- Ebbw Vale 28 Swansea 14
Tries:- Paul King (3), Ronny Kynes (21), Carl Meyer (31), Joel Harries (54)
Cons:- Rhys Jones (4, 22, 32, 55)
Yellow cards:- Rob Sevenoaks (63)
Tries:- Andrew Claypole (29), Ben Davies (70)
Cons:- Luke Griffiths (30, 71)
Yellow cards:- Duane Eager (51), Sion Jones (53)
Venue:- Eugene Cross Park
Referee:- Stephen Allsop
Weather:- Light cloud, 7C
Man of the match:- Joel Harries
Ebbw Vale team:
15 Dan Haymond
14 Paul King (rep: Stef Thomas 76)
13 Carl Meyer
12 Dom Franchi (rep: James Lewis 60)
11 Toby Fricker
10 Rhys Jones
9 Dai Jones (rep: Sam Ireland 80+12)
1 Joel Harries (rep: Ross Jones 72)
2 Rhys Francis (rep: Joe Franchi 60)
3 Rob Sevenoaks
4 Lance Randall (rep: Lewis Young 75)
5 Ashley Sweet (rep: Kristian Parker 60)
6 Rhys Clarke
7 Ronny Kynes ©
8 Cameron Regan
16 Joe Franchi
17 Ross Jones
18 Curtis Hicks
19 Kristian Parker
20 Lewis Young
21 Sam Ireland
22 James Lewis
23 Stef Thomas
15 Luke Griffiths
14 Joe Jenkins
13 Gareth Rees (rep: Paul John 57-63) (rep: Jedd Evans 63)
12 J Rhys Williams
11 Andrew Claypole
10 Dafydd Manley (rep: Gwyn Parks 63)
9 Tom Ham (rep: Josh Guy 37)
1 Tom Sloane (rep: Jack Powell 63)
2 Sion Jones (rep: Paul John 63)
3 Tom Harper (rep: Mitchell Walsh 10)
4 Andy Green
5 Tudor Hughes
6 Jon Vaughan (rep: Callum Bowden 49)
7 Ben Davies
8 Duane Eager © (rep: Geraint John 72)
16 Paul John
17 Jack Powell
18 Mitchell Walsh
19 Gethin John
20 Callum Bowden
21 Josh Guy
22 Gwyn Parks
23 Jedd Evans