Home » Drovers surrender initiative at the top

Drovers surrender initiative at the top

Ronny Kynes: Two tries for MOM flanker
Ronny Kynes: Two tries for MOM flanker
Ronny Kynes: Two tries for MOM flanker

Principality Premiership

Ebbw Vale 14

Llandovery 6

ON A SUNNY afternoon late last September, Llandovery handed Ebbw their biggest defeat in many years in a 50-0 demolition, running in 7 tries in the process. On Saturday, the table-topping Drovers came to Eugene Cross Park in search of a double, while the Steelmen knew that a win would considerably boost prospects of a play-off place.

Llandovery kicked off towards the clubhouse and their early pressure won them a kickable penalty that Jack Maynard put wide. The first half hour was hard fought, and neither side was able to penetrate their opponent’s defence. A sustained period of pressure by Ebbw saw visiting prop Greg Cunliffe sin-binned for a maul offence.

A penalty to touch by Dai Langdon set up a line out deep in the visitors’ 22 and the trusty Ronny Kynes put Ebbw 6-0 up with just over half an hour gone.

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Llandovery came back hard and camped deep in Ebbw territory. They had opportunities to level with penalties that led to 5m lines out, but superb steals by Ashley Sweet, then Damien Hudd, meant that the opportunities came to nothing.

The second half started as the first ended with the Drovers in charge. This time they made no mistake, a slick backs movement and a lovey miss pass putting wing Mike Evans in wide on the right. The conversion was missed and the game was tied at 6-6.

As the game wore on, tensions rose and players showed frustration at some of the officials’ decisions. It was exciting and there was plenty of endeavour, but also a fair degree of whistle. Both sides played rugby throughout, and Ebbw’s aggressive defence proved vital, with the pack on superb form, taking the battle to the Drovers time and time again. With 10 minutes remaining, the penalties began to flow Ebbw’s way and a great Langdon touch finder set up the almost inevitable drive again from Kynes. Langdon’s conversion gave the Steelmen a 14-6 lead, a lead they didn’t relinquish.


Man of the Match was Ronny Kynes, just reward for an excellent 2-try afternoon and a kick ahead of which even Mathew Williams would’ve been proud. It must have been a tricky call for those awarding the MOM, as they could have chosen any one of the 23 from the home side.

The win means that Ebbw are now 4th, and on a 5-match winning run in the Premiership, whilst the for the Drovers it was their first league defeat since the 5th December, and conceded ground in the race for top spot to Aberavon.


Ebbw Vale:

15 Daniel Haymond, 14 David Williams, 13 Nathan Preece, 12 Iain Smerdon, 11 Jared Rosser; 10 David Langdon, 9 Christopher Thomas; 1 Ross Jones, 2 Mathew Williams, 3 Gethin Robinson; 4 Damien Hudd (Captain), 5 Ashley Sweet; 6 Rhys Clarke, 7 Ronny Kynes, 8 Ethan Doyle.


16 Joseph Franchi, 17 Robert Sevenoaks, 18 Ian George, 19 Joseph Bartlett, 20 Cameron Regan, 21 David Jones, 22 Jordan Howells, 23 Christopher Levesley.


15 Will Thomas, 14 Mike Evans, 13 Matthew Jacobs, 12 Craig Woodall, 11 Sam Soul, 10 Jack Maynard, 9 Lee Rees, 1 Dean Howells, 2 Luke Lewis, 3 Greg Cunniffe, 4 Bryn Griffiths, 5 Matthew Harbut, 6 Stuart Worrall, 7 Richard Rees, 8 Richard Brooks.


16 Berian Watkins, 17 Jamie Kaijaks, 18 Jake Baker, 19 Shaun Miles, 20 Tom Ball, 21 Jacob Cowley, 22 James Davies, 23 Rhodri Davies.