EBBW Vale battled their way to two hard-earned points to close the gap on Bridgend in the Indigo Group Premiership relegation zone, writes Rob Cole.

In the wettest and windiest day of the season, the Steelmen were good value for their draw as their defensive performance and game management into the teeth of the elements rocked the home side.

The Steelmen kicked off with first use of the near gale force wind and driving rain and were quickly onto the front foot. They penned the Drovers into their own 22 and were unlucky not to convert a five metre line-out into a fifth minute try.

Some stubborn home defence held them up on the line and earned a turn-over scrum to allow them to clear. The previous weekend Llandovery had used their own driving maul to great effect in their win in north Wales against RGC 1404, bagging three of their five tries that way, and one 30-metre driving line-out carried them into the visitors’ half for the first time.

Having got a toe-hold in enemy territory they then stayed there and a Jack Maynard midfield break on the 10 metre line paved the way for right wing Jordan Evans to shrug off Aaron Grabham and score wide out.

There was no chance of Maynard beating the wind with the conversion, but it was first blood to the home side. The lead didn’t last long, though, as from the lengthy re-start a Llandovery hand touched the ball before it went dead and Ebbw had a scrum five metres out.

Ethan Phillips was held up over the line as he charged onto the ball from the inside centre position, but it was the tight forwards that struck when the second scrum was set. They shoved the home pack backwards, forced them to wheel illegally and referee Elgan Williams ran to the posts to signal a penalty try.

The visitors maintained the pressure as the elements got worse and twice went for close range scrums ahead of line-outs. They also ignored certain points from the boot on at least two occasions and just managed to add to their tally before the break when full back Ryan Evans landed a long range shot off the 10 metre line.

Playing into the wind, the Steelmen used the big boot of Phillips to make as much ground as was possible whenever they could and enjoyed more success than their hosts had done in making progress up field. Even so, it was hard graft into the elements and their cause wasn’t helped when they lost hooker Rhys Francis with what looked like a dislocated shoulder.

Llandovery kicked to the corner for a shot at a driving line-out score, but they lost control of the ball and then conceded a penalty. They kept on trying to use their driving line-out, but it wasn’t until the 65th minute that they finally earned some joy.

Ironically, the home side lost the line out, but then charged down an attempted clearance and Rhodri Jones was able to pounce to score the try that brought the scores level. Maynard’s conversion was once again blown off course.

Maynard aimed a shot at goal from two metres inside his own half as the Drovers ran out of attacking ideas, but once again he was nowhere near the target and the game ended in a draw.

Llandovery: Gavin Thomas, Jordan Evans, Kristian Jones, Rhodri Jones, Aaron Warren, Jack Maynard, Scott Maynard, Jamie Hughes, Alun Rees, Berian Watkins, Jack Jones, Joe Powell, Lewis Ellis-Jones, Stuart Worrall, Richard Brooks (captain)

Reps: Llyr Green, Dino Dallavalle, Rhys Jones, Shaun Miles, Ricky Guest, Llew Smith, Lawrence Thomas, Jac Howells

Scorers: Tries: J Evans, R Jones.

Ebbw Vale: Ryan Evans, Mike Powell, Paul King, Ethan Phillips, Aaron Grabham, Dai Langdon, Matthew Flanagan, Ross Jones, Rhys Francis, Rob Sevenoaks, Corey Talbot, Ashley Sweet (captain), Dan Hill, Dawid Rubasniak, Lewis Young

Reps: Joel Harries, Luke Garrett, Mikel Blake, Dave Whiting, Max Ayling, Dom Franchi, Dai Jones, Euan Rosser

Scorers: Tries: Pen Try; Pen: R Evans.

Referee: Elgan Williams