Despite their best efforts Llanelli went down to visitors Ebbw Vale in this first Premiership fixture. The final scoreline read Llanelli 10 Ebbw Vale 43 with the visitors superior experience and power proving the difference.
Ebbw were first on the scoresheet when outside half Rhys Jones kicked a penalty on 3 mins. Then a few minutes later they got their first of six tries when Dominic Franco crossed near the posts, with the conversion, the home were 10pts Down. 5 mins later, a second try from Stefan Thomas and another Jones conversion put the steelmen 17pts up. Liam Smith then went close for Llanelli but an unkind bounce robbed him of his first Premiership try for Llanelli. On 21 mins, outside half Ashley Sutton reduced the arrears with a well taken penalty goal. But Ebbw still had the upper hand and scored their third try when Ronny Keynes went over from a lineout close out, Jones, adding the extras to increase their lead. Just before the half ended Kalum Evans intercepted some 40 metres out and out paced the defence to cross for what was to be Llanelli's only try of the game, Sutton slotted the conversion to go in at the half 10-24.
Any thoughts Llanelli had of eating into the deficit quick evaporated when Ebbw got their bonus point try after 42 mins. Toby Fricker was on hand to finish the move near the posts and with the extras added by Jones, the game was all secure. A yellow card for the visitors gave the home side some hope but they were unable to take advantage with the visitors defence holding firm. This is a facet of the game that they will have to take advantage of in the coming weeks and months. When Ebbw got back to full strength Keynes went over for the try from a rolling maul. In the final quarter both sides made numerous tactical changes giving all matchday 23 squad a run out. The scoring then dried up until the final play when Fricker raced away for his second try to secure a fine win.
A tough lesson for Llanelli but I'm sure they'll be up for the many challenges that lie ahead.
Final score Llanelli 10 Ebbw Vale 43
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