Ebbw Vale Vale always seemed second best to Merthyr, losing 42-21 in an entertaining encounter at The Wern, writes Ian Golden.

With both sides coming into the game with an opening weekend defeat, Ebbw would have wanted to kick-start their season.

Despite drawing first blood with a 40-metre Dan Haymond penalty on 10 minutes, it was the home side who seemed hungrier.

Merthyr notched the first try of the day on 13 minutes, Rhys Williams going over from a maul and former Steelman Rhys Jones converting.

Haymond’s second successful kick brought the score back to 7-6 before a strong burst through from Damian Welch to increase Merthyr’s lead. Jones again added the extras to make the score 14-6 on the half hour.

Ebbw’s Dai Jones was sin-binned in first half stoppage time, right by his own line, giving Merthyr what should have been one last chance to score before the break.

A further Ebbw infringement added to the stoppage time and after the second time Merthyr kicked for touch, Williams dived over to increase his side’s lead. Jones converted to put his side 21-6 to the good.

Haymond slotted over his third penalty, five minutes into the second half but that was mere respite.

Adam Thomas soon secured the bonus point for Merthyr which Jones improved and they looked home and hosed.

However they were shocked by an Ebbw comeback. Dan Hill struck first with an unconverted effort. Then Ewan Rosser raced over with 15 to go and Haymond goaled to put them a converted try behind.

But Merthyr sealed things with 10 minutes remaining, when Adam Thomas fed Rhys Downes to run under the sticks. Jones converted again.

Downes soon sped away for a second to put the icing on the cake with Gareth Davies converting.