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BONUS POINT WIN FOR THE IRONMEN
Merthyr 42 Ebbw Vale 21(Saturday 21st September).
Merthyr returned to winnings ways as they beat Ebbw Vale in an entertaining indigo premiership encounter at the wern in perfect playing conditions. Both sides were defeated on the opening day of the new season, so a win was important to both sides. The opening quarter was quite even as both sides tested each other out, and it was the visitors that drew first blood when the home side was penalized for offside and visiting full-back Dan Haymond made no mistake to give Ebbw Vale a 0-3 early lead. Merthyr soon hit back when the home pack drove Ebbw Vale back at a maul near their line and hooker Rhys Williams crashing over for the first of his 2 tries, outside half Rhys Jones converting and the ironmen led 7-3. However, Ebbw Vale closed the gap when Haymond slotted over his second penalty to reduce the scores 7-6. Merthyr stretched their lead when home second row Damian Welch collected a pass just over the halfway line and galloped upfield to touch down for a fine individual try, Jones converted to give the home side a 14-6 lead. Just before half time, Merthyr was camped inside the Ebbw Vale 25 with Phil Rees, and Tom Daley making good meters. To make thing worse for the visitor’s Scum half Dai Jones was yellow carded for preventing the ball being released. Merthyr kicked the penalty into touch and after two consecutive lineouts the home pack drove Ebbw Vale over their own line with hooker Rhys Williams claiming his second try, Jones converted to give the ironmen a 21-6 halftime lead. Ebbw Vale was first on the score sheet within 5 minutes of the second half when Haymond converted his 3rd penalty. But there was no rest bite for the visitors as the Ironmen hit straight back when a sweeping back move 35 meters out saw center Adam Thomas break away to score, with Jones converting to give the ironmen a bonus point and a 28-9 lead. Merthyr then thought the game was won, but to their credit, the visitors hit back, first with a short-range touch down from back row man Dan Hill, but the kick going wide. Then, wingman, Ewan Rosset raced away following a fine attack by the visitors, Haymond converted to put the visitors a converted try behind at 28-21. With 15 minutes remaining the next score would seal the win and it was replacement scrum-half, Rhys Downes that settled the home supporters’ nerves when he took an inside pass from center Adam Thomas to race away under the posts, Jones converted to give Merthyr a 35-21 lead. There was still time left for one more score as the visitors missed tackles which allowed scum half Downes to race away from 25 meters out to seal the victory, Gareth Davies converting to give the home side a 42-21 victory. This was an important bonus-point win for the reigning champions as they look to defend their league title. Once again, the side was well led by number 8 Phil Rees, and he was well supported by both second Rows, Welch and Barnes who secured good lineout ball. Behind the scrum, Ex-Ebbw Vale outside half Rhys Jones controlled play with some fine line kicking and finishing the game with 10 points from his 5 conversions. The ironmen take a short break due to the world cup and are back in action on Saturday 12th October, when they travel to the Brewery field to play Bridgend.
MERTHYR: 15 M JARVIS,14 A NORTON,13 A THOMAS,12 A PINCHES,11 S JONES,10 R JONES,9 A HOSKINS,1 C PHILLIPS,2 R WILLIAMS,3 J GILDING,4 H BARNES,5 D WELCH,6 T DALEY,7 J PERKINS,8 P REES©, 16 S EVANS,17 R THOMAS,18 L OWEN,19 A MURPHY,20 J MARTIN,21 R DOWNES,22 G DAVIES,23 C CZEKAJ. Scorers, R Wiilaims2t, R Downes 2t, A Thomas1, D Welch 1t, R Jones 5c, G Davies1c.
REFEREE, NIKA AMASHUKELI(GEORGIAN RUGBY UNION)