Ebbw Vale
2005/2006 Principality Premiership
Ebbw Vale 49 v 8 Cardiff
03 September 2005 - Eugene Cross Park, Ebbw Vale

Match Report

Ebbw Vale 49 Cardiff 8

Early last season Cardiff went down 3-28 to Ebbw Vale at Eugene Cross Park, their biggest losing margin of the campaign. At the very end of it the Blue & Blacks gained full revenge with a record 64-nil win at the Arms Park. After this dispiriting result, we can only hope that history will repeat itself in a couple of months time when this year's return fixture is staged on home territory.

The performance was as bad as the scoreline. That is not to dismiss everything out of hand. For long periods, and particularly in set-pieces, Cardiff's pack went well. A solid scrum and a competitive lineout should have formed the platform for, at the very least, a close run thing at what is always a difficult venue to succeed.

It was never that, with the alarm bells ringing as early as the ninth minute as a Cardiff attack broke down deep in Vale territory. Matthew Griffiths' interception sent wing Simon Hunt galloping away for what was to be the first try in a notable hat-trick.

In another nine minutes Hunt struck again. A lineout in the left corner was easily won and the Vale backs were allowed to chain-pass the ball along the line in the manner of a training run. As the defence stood and watched Hunt popped up in midfield for a run-in to the posts.

A Gareth Williams-Davies penalty goal from 38 metres at last broke Cardiff's duck but Hunt was now on the scent of a quickfire hat-trick. A missed clearance kick was gobbled up on half-way on the right and Manu Tuipolotu provided the final pass on the left for the winger to cross again. With Jason Williams converting all three tries the Steelmen led 21-3 with barely 26 minutes on the clock.

Some attacking intent from Cardiff was long overdue and it finally arrived in the 34th minute of the half when Elgan Jones side-stepped out of his own 22, the back row carried the move on, and Leon Andrews crossed wide out.

The last word before the break, though, again belonged to the hosts - and again had the gloss of a soft score. Skipper Kristian Owen was allowed to dummy away from a ruck and cover 40 metres for the touchdown. Williams' fourth conversion completed a nightmare opening half for the Blue & Blacks. But there was worse to come.

In the first ten minutes of the second half there were two more converted tries. Williams broke out of defence and the nippy fly-half was again on hand to take a return pass for another try at the posts that he had no difficulty in converting.

Moments later he booted the ball 60 metres from a penalty touch kick and when the lineout was won a loose pass in the Vale midfield completely caught out the Cardiff defence again and full-back Andrew McLaughlan crossed unopposed.

Williams' sixth successful conversion completed his personal tally of 17 points before he took his leave of the action. At 42-8 ahead all of Ebbw Vale was positively en fete. Even the clubhouse temperature gauge, famed for its forbidding minus digits in midwinter, touched 27 degrees centigrade. Global warming was reaching the parts that others couldn't reach. And the Steelmen were well out of sight against the bemused Blue & Blacks.

Another try by McLaughlan - yet again from a set-piece lineout and the breaching of the Cardiff midfield - completed the agony. With Jason Williams watching from the bench, replacement Owain Biddiscombe kicked the final conversion. Cardiff fans, meanwhile, could long be excused for choosing to look away.