by Howard Evans
Aberavon lost their first match of the new season despite leading twice in the first half. It was a friendly match however and Ebbw Vale were already up to full match practice after several earlier games this month.
The ‘Wizards’ will look back at missed chances in the first 20 minutes especially, yet they had led by ‘the try of the season’ from Stef Andrews after just two minutes play. Will Price did superbly to get the ball away near halfway and the very-fit wing turnedinside in a great arc to leave the defence standing with Aled Thomas converting.
Chances went by and after 21 minutes Ebbw went on the attack after centre Lewis Bates was obstructed. The forwards handled well and lock Brice Randell scored for Lewis K.Williams to convert.
Aberavon, with Lloyd Evans, a former Ebbw player, quite outstanding, looked to have plenty in hand and suddenly centre Chay Smith intercepted on halfway and was gone with Aled Thomas again converting.
However, wing Euan Rosser took an interception in the final minute of the half and Williams again converted at 14-14.
Many changes were made to either side, though scrum half Rhodri Cole had to stay on throughout and played well.
After 45 minutes a numberless replacement centre scored a fine try for Ebbw and Rhys Jones added the extras to put the visitors ahead.
Aberavon hit back to make it 21-all when the alert Andrews took an interception and ran some 70 metres for a try that was well converted by debutant and replacement fly half Dan Edwards.
Nevertheless, it was the Ebbw Vale pack who now took over and a try by a replacement wing put them ahead by 26-21.
Rhys Jones missed a penalty, but soon landed another effort and Aberavon gained a late corner try which was credited to replacement hooker Llew Phillips-Taylor.
For Aberavon, Aled Thomas looked as fit as a fiddle and Price was solid as the captain for the day. Lloyd Evans was outstanding.
This was the first game and no matter how much players train it will never be the same as playing a real match. Jonny Phillips looked good at full back and Andrews splendid, while Ashton Evans was playing his first game since breaking his jaw.
News was not good of some of the squad regarding injury and illness and there might have to be another wing signing made.
Andrews (2), Smith, Phillips-Taylor.
Thomas (2), Edwards.