This match report was printed in The Merthyr Express on 19th March 2010.
THE NORTHERN UNION GAME
NORTHERN UNION CUP.
EBBW VALE CREATE A SURPRISE.
GREAT VICTORY OVER HUDDERSFIELD.
The surprise of the Northern Union cup-ties, on Saturday, was undoubtedly the ousting from the competition by Ebbw Vale of Huddersfield (holders of the Yorkshire Cup and the victors of Oldham, the League leaders in the first round). There is no doubt that the Huddersfield Club had altogether under-estimated the strength and abilities of the Valians. In every department of the game Ebbw Vale were superior. The Welsh forwards never gave an inch, and Thomas played a wonderful game at out-side half, manoeuvring some grand movement amongst the backs. Llewellyn was in brilliant form, and his two tries were very fine efforts. Dai Davies converted the latter try from the touch line side.
The Huddersfield team underwent some changes for the match. Kitchin went full-back for Bartholomew who was not well enough to turn out; and Wilson came on to the wing; but in the second half Ainley went on at full-back, Kiitchin going to his old place. The Ebbw Vale team was not changed and play had not been going on two minutes ere Huddersfield. realized that they would have to put in all they knew to defeat the Welsh champions.
Huddersfield were the first to score. A kick from one of the Welsh backs was charged, the ball went line, and Higson was fortunate enough to each the ball first. The goal kick by Shallcross failed. Then there was a lull, but at length as a result of some cross-kicking and passing Llewellyn got possession and easily beat Kitchin, racing over the line arid scoring the equalising try, which was not improved. At half-time each side had scored a try.
When the game was resumed play became more strenuous than ever, particularly on the Ebbw Vale side, and two players had to be cautioned. For a long time the score was still one try each, and then the Welsh backs got to work again, and the ball wind its way to Llewellyn, who made off at top speed and scored far out. Notwithstanding the distance however, Dai Davies, the full-back, placed the goal. Huddersfield once got to the Vale line, but the ball was fumbled, the chance went, and Huddersfield never had another opportunity.
Huddersfield were somewhat handicapped, as Sykes sustained a bruised rib, was practically useless ail the second half, though he got in a few kicks. Further, Jim Davies, the Huddersfield half-back, in the first half of the game attempted to do the impossible – namely, play the Welsh backs single handed, as he would persist in holding the ball too long, leaving four men unfed. Then there was a good deal of lax passing on the Huddersfield side, and some of it sent the ball into the hands of the opponents.
After making all the allowances for Huddersfield, it was Emitted that Ebbw Vale thoroughly deserved their victory. Here was a smarter set of backs on the Ebbw side than on the Huddersfield side. Dai Davies was a more capable full-back; Thomas, the outside half-back, played a clever game; Harvey worked the scrummage well; and the Welsh three-quarter line was altogether smarter than Huddersfield even when Kitchin got to his accustomed place.
It is true that there were some pretty movements effected at the Huddersfield three-quarter line in which Moorhouse was several times conspicuous, and he played a surprising game. Wilson too put in some good individual runs, but his pass was erratic. Grey played cleverly. The Welsh were smarter all round, and surprised the Huddersfield players and spectators alike.
The attendance was 10,000, and the gate realised £301.
DRAW FOR THIRD ROUND.
EBBW VALE’S GOOD FORTUNE.
The draw for the third round of the Northern Union Cup took place at Leeds, on Monday afternoon resulting as follows:-
Keighley v Leeds.
Ebbw Vale v Salford.
Warrington v Hunslet or Wakefield Trinity
Hull v Halifax