Blue & Black supporters knew they were in for a strange afternoon when they arrived at Ebbw Vale and found they had to fork out an entrance fee of £7.00 to see the game.
No sooner had they contributed significantly to the local economy than they found the macro-climate of the area, faithfully recorded as ever on the outside of the clubhouse wall, to be providing a balmy (and rather unbelievable) 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Luckily the shocks ended there as the team surged into 20 points to three lead by half time.
The Ebbw Vale team proved to be more generous on the field than at the turnstiles as they gifted Cardiff several turnovers. Cardiff’s backs didn’t need any extra encouragement. Richard Jones claimed the first try in the sixth minute after good work by Owen Ruttley, a pinpoint pass by Chris Miller in the fly-half position and a clean break by Elgan Jones.
The winger added a penalty goal in the 18th minute to cancel out an earlier effort by Richard Davies but from that point at 8-3 the Blue & Blacks enjoyed a productive second quarter. Ruttley pounced on an opposition mistake off the back of a scrum in the Cardiff 22 for a 70-metres’ kick-and-chase and a try at the other end converted by Elgan Jones. Then in the 35th minute a classic lineout take by James Goode and text-book passing to the right by the backs saw Leon Andrews come into the line and put Lee Abdul clear for a 40-metres’ run in. James Malpas and Gareth McCarthy further strengthened Cardiff’s ranks in the second half.
Within five minutes of the restart another Goode catch was maximised by McCarthy’s break, Richard Jones’ link, and Stephen Ireland’s try. McCarthy converted and added a penalty goal in the 65th minute. Ebbw vale never gave up, scoring tries by Gareth Betts and the Mohican look-alike prop, Kristian Gay, both from lineouts in the corner.
Deep in injury time skipper Gareth Green added a third. Richard Davies converted twice and kicked a penalty goal, but Cardiff were worthy winners.