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banner Saturday, 8 December, 2001, 13:40 GMT
Neath blitz sinks Steelmen
Rowland Phillips returned to the back row
Rowland Phillips sets up an attack for Neath
Ebbw Vale 6-45 Neath

Two of the sides threatened by the proposed reorganisation of Welsh rugby fought out an entertaining battle at Eugene Cross Park.

It was Neath, though, who enjoyed the night more with a scoring blitz at the start of second half giving them a comprehensive victory.

The match got off to a fiery start with Neath centre James Storey yellow-carded for a high tackle on Ebbw full-back Matt James with barely a minute on the clock.

The Welsh All Blacks got onto the wrong side of referee Nigel Owens again soon after, when Dave Tiueti was adjudged offside as he ran on after a Lee Jarvis chip through.

It was the Steelmen who took the lead, though, with Gareth Cull - playing at fly-half - slotting over a 40-metre penalty.

Kevin Ellis is tracked by Neath scrum-half Andy Moore
Kevin Ellis is tracked by Neath scrum-half Andy Moore
That was the only score in Storey's absence and, shortly after his return, Lee Jarvis levelled the scores for Neath.

Another penalty from the Wales A outside-half put the Welsh All Blacks in front, before the first try of the night.

Jarvis took a quick penalty to catch Ebbw unawares and, when he chipped through, the ball bounced kindly for the fit-again Allan Bateman to stroll over.

Ebbw replied with a spell of intense pressure, but they wasted several good opportunities with Steve Tandy - replacing the injured Brett Sinkinson - and skipper Gareth Llewellyn prominent in the Neath rearguard.

After almost 10 minutes of constant attacking, Ebbw finally clawed some points back with Cull knocking over his second penalty to make it 11-6 at the break.

But Neath went further in front straight after the interval.

Gareth Cull moved to fly-half for Ebbw
Gareth Cull tries to get the Ebbw Vale attack moving
A fine break from Storey, and some good handling, saw full-back Gareth Morris dive over for an unconverted try.

Morris was celebrating again six minutes later when a quick line-out caught Ebbw out and winger Kevin James made ground to send Morris over with an overhead pass. Jarvis converted to make it 23-6.

The blitz of point-scoring from the visitors continued with a huge 45-yard drop goal from Jarvis, and he then converted a good try from hooker Barry Williams.

Bateman was then replaced by Shaun Connor, and the former Ebbw man was soon at the centre of the action.

The ball reached him on halfway and, after a kick and chase, he slid in at the corner to make it 38-6.

Ebbw kept plugging away, but were unable to get a consolation score and Neath secured their victory with a Kevin James try, converted by Jarvis, to move into third spot in the Welsh-Scottish League.

Ebbw Vale: Pens: G Cull (2).

Neath: Tries: A Bateman, G Morris (2), B Williams, S Connor, K James. Pens: L Jarvis (2). Cons: L Jarvis (3). Drop:L Jarvis.

Ebbw Vale: M James; N McKim, R Shorney, D Weatherley, A Wagstaff; G Cull, K Ellis; D Penisini, L Phillips, M Jones, O Booyse, M Edwards, C Billen (capt), W Thomas, P Williams.
Reps: R Mills, J Evans, R Williams, K Tuipolotu, A Bevan, P Matthews, A Takarangi.

Neath: G Morris; K James, J Storey, A Bateman, DTiueti; L Jarvis, A Moore; D Jones, B Williams, A Howell, S Martin, G Llewellyn (capt), A Mocelutu, R Phillips, S Tandy.
Reps: A Thomas, S Connor, S Jones, R Francis, P Jones, J Slade, A Jones.

Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU).

Neath coach Lyn Jones
"We got behind Ebbw and finished off our chances"
Ebbw Vale coach Mike Ruddock
"We deserved more out of it"
Other top Welsh-Scottish Rugby stories:

Links to more Welsh-Scottish Rugby stories are at the foot of the page.

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