Cardiff’s Jekyll and Hyde season continued last night at Eugene Cross Park. Luckily it was the good side that shone through. On a crisp clear evening both side showed intent to run the ball in the opening minutes. The first points coming from a penalty awarded following a break by Ebbw winger Bevan, Sam Mills slotting the 4th minute kick from close to the posts.
The next 32 minutes would not have looked out of place at the Hong Kong Sevens, with both sides throwing the ball around a-la-Fijians. The result was several opportunities for both teams, but with the final pass not going to hand or passes being given as forward, to the amazement of the crowd, no one scored. Cardiff threw away two golden chances, one from Richard Jones, the other ruled out by a forward pass from Nick Hampson, but Ebbw also managed not to score with one effort ruled out for a knock-on with the line begging.
Cardiff’s account was finally opened when Tom Isaacs spotted a gap in the Ebbw defence and scampered over from the 22 without a finger being laid on him. Craig Evans converted, leaving the half-time score 3-7.
Cardiff started the second half brightly and took control of the game. Craig Evans was instrumental in getting Cardiff going forward, and it was his vision and pass that sent Jamie Roberts in at the corner 4 minutes into the half to extend Cardiff’s lead, Evans himself converting from the touchline.
More Cardiff pressure led to the next score, unfortunately at the wrong end. Evans again spotted space, but Ebbw’s winger Hunt was wise to it, picked off the pass and ran the try in from inside his own 22. This set back only fired Evans to greater heights, slicing through the Ebbw defence again spotting Roberts out wide he supplied both the scoring pass and the touchline conversion. Ebbw 8, Cardiff 24.
It was now becoming one-way traffic and as Cardiff stretched Ebbw’s defence. A penalty in front of the posts for hands in the ruck gave Evans a penalty shot which he completed with ease, 8-24. Ebbw were now desperate to stop Cardiff getting quick ball. In desperation they killed the ball on the 10-metre line resulting in a yellow card and 3 more points from the Evans boot.
Game over? Ebbw didnt think so. Two late tries, both from rolling mauls kept them in the hunt, and with Andy Powell, who had been a force for the Blue & Blacks throughout the game sent to the bin in the 72nd minute, Cardiff were left with nerves jangling. They held their composure though to close out the game deserved winners by 27 points to 22.