7:46am Friday 7th March 2014
IMPERIOUS Ebbw Vale remain on course to surpass their exploits of last season as they continue to their relentless march to retain their Swalec Championship title, writes Iwan Gabe Davies.
The Steelmen are already a staggering 24 points clear with a game in hand over their closest rivals RGC 1404 at the table’s summit.
Last season they lost just one game out of 26 in the league as they racked up 123 points with 25 wins to their name.
They remain unbeaten during this campaign, having amassed 78 points from 16 games.
That’s an average of 4.875 points per match which leaves them well placed, with ten encounters left, to outshine the class of 2012/13 as they stand on the verge of promotion back to the Principality Premiership which was ring-fenced by the Welsh Rugby Union last season.
This weekend, Vale, who secured a 33-10 home bonus point win over Gwent rivals Pontypool last Saturday, travel to play a Tondu side reeling from their 64-0 hammering by North Wales flagship outfit RGC 1404 in Colwyn Bay in their last match.
And the odds on the Steelmen coming away from Bridgend with another five-pointer will be very short indeed.
Head coach Jason Strange’s men will look to gear up well this weekend and next Friday night away to Blackwood ahead of their huge Swalec Cup home quarter-final to Premiership high flyers Llandovery on Saturday, March 22.
Pontypool, without a victory in more than two months since crushing Beddau 48-8 in late December, have a tough task ahead of them tomorrow (SAT).
They host a Narberth side chasing second place and buoyed after they inflicted a 63-0 home humiliation over Pooler’s Gwent rivals Blackwood last week.
But head coach Mike Hook’s men can also still realistically secure the runners-up spot and will be desperate to get their show back on the road at Pontypool Park.
Newbridge did well last week, beating Bonymaen 21-14 away, a place where Pooler slipped up at the end of January, but have a tough gig this time around when they host RGC 1404 at the Welfare Ground.
Life for basement boys Blackwood doesn’t get much easier as they look to free themselves from the bottom of the league.
They entertain a Cardiff Met side who will feel upbeat after they got an impressive 27-25 success away at Bargoed.
And the less said about the Glan-yr-Afon outfit’s trip to West Wales a week ago, the better really.
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