EBBW Vale coped with the atrocious weather conditions better than Cross Keys as they used the advantage of wind behind them to build a lead that they defended through the second half, retaining their 100 per cent record in the Principality Premiership, writes Peter Hughes.

The opening stages of this game were played almost exclusively in Cross Keys territory and in the 19th minute it seemed that the Steelmen had utilised their trademark rolling maul to open the scoring, only for the television match official to disallow the try.

Playing into the near gale-force wind, the visitors continued to struggle to break out of their own half but they put up brave resistance to the Ebbw Vale onslaught. The opening try finally came nearly half an hour into the game when from a scrum on the five-metre line the ball popped out on the Cross Keys side and Ebbw Vale scrum-half Dai Jones was the first to get his hand on the ball.

Try number two came from an Ebbw Vale scrum and number eight Lewis Young touched down.

The TMO was back in action as half time approached and this time the decision went in favour of the home side, a try being awarded to skipper Ronny Kynes to make the score at the interval 17-0 to the Steelmen.

With the wind at their backs following the restart, it was Cross Keys’ turn to spend time in their opponents’ half and their hosts’ turn to show their defensive skills.

Cross Keys finally got on the score board with an impressive try on the hour mark, full-back Leon Andrews breaking from his own 22 to set up wing Wes Cunliffe for the score.

Both sides were reduced to 14 men in the closing stages when Cross Keys lock Tom Lampard was shown red for a punch while Ebbw Vale’s replacement hooker Joe Franchi saw yellow.

The home side’s bonus-point try came in added time with replacement prop Joel Harris touching down.

Ebbw Vale: D Haymond; P King (S Thomas 80+1), C Meyer, J Lewis, T Fricker; Rhys Jones, D Jones (M Flanagan (80+6); Ross Jones (J Harris 70), R Francis (J Franchi 70), R Sevenoaks, K Parker, A Sweet (L Randall 8); R Clarke (C Regan 80+8), R Kynes (capt), L Young.

Scorers: Tries: D Jones, L Young, R Kynes, J Harries; Con: Rhys Jones.

Cross Keys: L Andrews; J Goodchild, D Williams, D Fidler, W Cunliffe (I Newbury 71); J Tovey, O Leonard (M Evans 80+3); R Bevington (T Hansen 68), C Vaughan (R Jenkins 68), R Cornock (S Hoskins 71), H Reader, T Lampard, D Welch (capt), J Carlin (I Duffy 62), J Thomas.

Scorers: Try: W Cunliffe; Con: J Tovey.

Referee: Mr Rhys Jones (WRU).

Star Player: Rhys Francis (Ebbw Vale).