Cardiff slipped to ninth in the Principality Premiership with defeat in a pulsating game at Eugene Cross Park.
Only a win against Bedwas next week and a Cross Keys win against Ebbw Vale will see the Blue & Blacks make the top eight cut off. As the game kicked off the visitors knew a win would almost guarantee that spot but it was Ebbw who struck first with a penalty by Josh Lewis opened the Steelmen’s account. Cardiff’s response was swift. As Ebbw tried to clear their lines just outside their twenty-two Gareth Thompson charged down the kick and was level headed as he tapped the ball over the in-goal line and touched down for a try he converted.
Straight from the kick off though a penalty at a scrum allowed Lewis to cut the deficit. Cardiff were soon back on the attack and Harri Millard was slicing through the home defence. When he was about to give the scoring pass though Ebbw centre Srdan Majkic pulled back James Beal, an offence that landed him in the sinbin and gave Thompson another three points. And Thompson was again on target as the Blue & Blacks went further ahead after an offside. But there were ominous signs appearing as the scrum was being penalised regularly, Ebbw gained a foothold in the Cardiff twenty-two just before half time but their lineout, which was their main weapon last season was being disrupted by a very competitive Cardiff pack and the danger was cleared.
The second half saw Ebbw turn the scrum heat up even more and Lewis was able to bring his side to within a point with a penalty that also saw Cardiff reduced to fourteen. Cardiff simply couldn’t get the ball to play and when they were reduced even further by another sin binning the whole ground knew a penalty try would not be far away. Two minutes and three scrums later the referee duly obliged.
Back came the Blue & Blacks with the try of the game. This time a defensive error saw the home team give the ball away and when Thompson found Ceri Young in space the winger was able to use his pace and power first to break the tackle and them to leave two tacklers behind before stepping the fullback to score. Thompson slotted the extras but it was Lewis who had the final scoring say. His two penalties gave Ebbw a four-point lead. There was though time for one last through of the dice and the Blue & Blacks gave everything in the cause. At one point it looked like as try had been scored near the side of a ruck but the officials were not in the best place to award it. And when the referee blew for no side the Steelmen had done enough to hold off the onslaught. So next week the home crowd will cheer the Blue & Black on in hope of victory but there will also be one eye on Eugene Cross Park – Come on the Keys,