Another week and another Blue and Blacks' performance that was unrecognisable from what went before. The mediocrity at Bedwas seven days' earlier was replaced by the second-half domination of Ebbw Vale. If it was a thoroughly deserved and workmanlike victory, there was at least one disappointment as the fourth try bonus point yet again eluded the side.
But after what was served up in a pointless, in every respect, first half, we should be grateful for small mercies. The second 40 minutes were much better with the back three of Halfpenny, Howells and Chapman proving to be a real attacking force. A word, too, for the defence: four tries leaked, largely to turnover ball at Bedwas; watertight against the Vale, especially in an opening quarter played out almost entirely in Cardiff's half.
Interesting team selection beforehand featured Scott Roberts moving across to his original position at loose-head and Wales under-20 cap Patrick Palmer starting for the first time at number 3. Adam Powell played at 6 in a rejigged back row that also had Mark Lewis at number 8. Meanwhile in the backs with Roger Davies unavailable Leigh Halfpenny returned to the side after missing the last six matches at full-back.
An entirely forgettable first-half raised fears of a first ever scoreless draw in Cardiff's Premiership era. For what it was worth Bryan Shelbourne for the Vale and Craig Evans both failed with ambitious 45-metre attempts at penalty goals. Halfpenny provided the only moment of inspiration as he ran the ball back from a quick throw in deep in Cardiff's half and whizzed past half-a-dozen defenders before narrowly failing to touch down from his own chip ahead.
That was an encouraging sign of things to come. Immediately after half-time Tristan Davies burst through off a short pass and put Halfpenny over for the opening try. The full-back also added the extras before Evans resumed the goalkicking duties and only narrowly fell short with an audacious attempt at a penalty from all of 56 metres.
Ebbw Vale were now camped in their own half as the two Evans's at half-back pumped the ball time after time into their 22 and James Down dominated the lineouts. The contact areas were also going well with a surfeit of turnovers in Cardiff's favour. The pressure paid off in the 62nd minute when the ever dangerous Ryan Howells made one of his trademark thrusts towards the posts and, when halted inches short, slipped the ball to Rhys James for the try, converted again by Halfpenny.
It was now a question of whether the Blue and Blacks could ram home their superiority in the final quarter. But it was not until the 77th minute that more turnover ball was maximised by the Howells-Chapman duo out wide and a clever chip by the latter resulted in a try behind the posts for Howells.The only sour note at the end was a failure to score the vital fourth try from a clear overlap on the left and then James was red-carded for the alleged use of a boot on a Vale player at a ruck in the visitors' 22.