Preview: Ebbw Vale v Aberavon

This Saturday, Aberavon (6th – 61 pts) play their last game of the season as they travel to Eugene Cross Park to take on Ebbw Vale (5th – 63 pts) in a re-arranged Indigo Group Premiership match, kick-off at 2:30 pm.

The Steelmen have won thirteen of their twenty league games this season. They have completed the double over Swansea, Carmarthen Quins, Llanelli, Pontypridd and Newport with wins also over RGC 1404 (at home), Aberavon (away) and Bridgend (at home). Six of their wins have been bonus point wins. Their losses have come at the hands of RGC 1404 (away), Merthyr (lost twice), Cardiff (away), Bridgend (away) and Llandovery (lost twice), with the Steelmen picking up losing bonus points in five of those losses.

Looking at the Premiership, in “attack”, Ebbw Vale have scored 24.5 points on average per game (ranked 7th) and 2.9 tries (ranked 7th). In “defence” they have conceded 19.1 points on average per game (ranked 3rd) and 2.2 tries (ranked joint 3rd). Aberavon have scored 27.6 points per game (ranked 5th) and 3.9 tries (ranked 4th), and conceded 24.0 points (ranked 7th) and 3.0 tries (ranked 7th).

Head-to-head, Aberavon and Ebbw Vale have met each other 36 times in the Welsh National League, with the Wizards narrowly leading the series 18 – 17 with 1 game drawn. At Eugene Cross Park, the home side leads 12 – 5 and won the last time the sides met at the ground (19 – 17 in 2018-19).

Looking back to when the sides met at the ground in 2004-05, the Wizards hung on to win 22 – 21 after taking a fourteen-point lead towards the end of the first half. Playing into the wind, the home side opened the scoring with a try by Kuli Faletau – father of Wales centurion Taulupe Faletau. Aberavon responded with three tries of their own as Barry Maddocks and Ricky Price both touched down before referee David Bodilly awarded the Wizards a penalty try. Davies converted two of the tries to give the visitors a 19 – 5 lead. However, in injury time, Byron Hayward, kicked a penalty to make the score 19 – 8 at the interval. Hayward kicked a further two penalties in the second half with Davies replying with one of his own to make the score 22 – 14 as the game entered the final quarter. A Scott Headington try in the 75th minute, converted by Hayward, set up a tense ending to the game, especially as Bodilly added seven minutes of injury time.

The Wizards team that day was: Ricky Price; Daran Griffiths, Barry Maddocks, Darren Ryan, Paul Bamsey; Jamie Davies (rep Liam Gadd), Adrian Williams; Mike Harris (rep Lloyd Howell), Chris Wells, Paul Breeze, Dafydd Owen (capt), Ian Moore, Jonathan Purnell, Richard Morris, Steve Phillips.

The referee for Saturday’s game is Mike English, aided by Aaron Parry and Mark Jones.