DAN Haymond kicked 17 points to steer Ebbw Vale to a magnificent bonus-point win over Llandovery that came despite a slow start.

Ebbw had first use of the breeze and put in a couple of impressive defensive sets to frustrate their visitors. Then they caught napping off first-phase possession as the Drovers conjured up a fifth minute try with a play that was straight off the training ground.

From a line-out on half-way, outside half Jack Maynard brought his right wing, Harri Doel, into play with an inside pass and the Wales U18 cap sliced clean through before passing to the supporting Rhodri Jones who ran the length of the 22 to score a try that Maynard converted.

It was a great start for the visitors and it could have got even better had an upright not stopped Maynard from increasing the lead 10 minutes from a penalty 40 metres out. Ebbw breathed a sigh of relief and finally got their game going.

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They had to defend well against some creative running from the Llandovery backs and got back on level terms after 25 minutes when outside half Ethan Phillip intercepted on half-way and ran free to the posts for a try that Dan Haymond converted to level the scores.

That score breathed new confidence into the home side and with skipper Ashley Sweet driving on his pack they laid siege in the Llanodvery 22.

The fired-up forwards got up to the line, but not quite over, before scrum half Sam Ireland unpicked the lock of the Drovers’ defence with a superb cut out pass to wing Dafydd Thomas that allowed him to cross from five metres out.

Haymond added a superb touchline conversion and the Steelmen were good value for their lead. Maynard tried to claw some points back just before the break, but his penalty off the 10 metre line fell inches under the bar.

After a great first-half showing, Ebbw let themselves down within a minute of the re-start when a Sam Ireland kick from a ruck on his 22 went straight up in the air and the forwards failed to retreat.

Maynard kicked the penalty into the corner and the Llandovery pack did the rest as they drove flanker Stuart Worrall over for a try close to the posts.

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Maynard had no problem adding the conversion and it was all square with everything still to play for.

The visitors’ cause wasn’t helped when Joe Powell picked up a yellow card for some over vigorous rucking in front of his posts and Haymond made him pay even more by knocking over the penalty to regain the lead.

The home full back extended the lead with another penalty from 35 metres before Worrall returned.

It was still a precarious lead and when Jones powered his way over for his second try midway through the second period, Maynard stepped up to edge Llandovery into the lead by a single point.

Haymond was just wide with a penalty shot off the 10 metre line, but a two great carries from the Young brothers, Lewis and Owen, paved the way for a great try in the right corner by Ewan Rosser. Haymond’s touchline conversion was the icing on the cake.

The Drovers then lost lock Jack Jones to the sin-bin and Haymond calmly kicked the wide-angled penalty that opened up a crucial nine point gap.

Paul King added the bonus-point try in the final move of the match and Haymond took his personal tally up to 17 points with the conversion.

Scorers: Ebbw Vale: Try: E Phillip, D Thomas, E Rosser, P King; Cons: D Haymond 4; Pens: D Haymond 3
Llandovery: Tries: R Jones 2, S Worrall; Cons: J Maynard 3

Ebbw Vale: D Haymond; D Thomas, P King, D Franchi, E Rosser; E Phillip, S Ireland; L Garrett, R Francis, C Coleman, L Randall, A Sweet (captain), D Hill, C Regan, L Young
Reps: R Jones, J Franchi, R Sevenoaks, M Ayling, O Young, D Jones, M Flanagan, E Phillip

Llandovery: K Jones; H Doel, R Evans, R Jones, A Warren; J Maynard, L Rees; D Evans, A Rees, B Watkins, R Jones, J Jones, J Powell, S Worrall, R Brooks (captain)
Reps: L Green, D Dallavalle, O Davies, L Ellis-Jones, R Guest, T Evans, R Williams, S Maynard

Star Man: Lewis Young (Ebbw Vale)