The quarter-finals of the Northern Union Challenge Cup in 1910 as reported by the Merthyr Express on the day.
THE NORTHERN UNION GAME NORTHERN UNION CUP.
EXIT EBBW VALE.
By agreeing to transfer their match with Salford in the third round of the Northern Union Cup competition to Lancashire, Ebbw Vale sacrificed a good chance of appearing in the semi-finals. They were only beaten by eight points to two and a little luck might have won. So very little between the teams on the day’s play that Ebbw Vale are to be congratulated on maintaining the standard that has enabled them to beat six of the best-known clubs in the Northern League. Their start was in itself sensational, for Preston had to mark on his own line, and the game had been going twenty minutes before Salford opened the scoring through Cook. The manner of the movement was just the dividing line between the teams that really accounted for the result, for Cook skilfully elaborated a rolling drive by Preston, and Davies was outwitted. Just that bit of finish made all the difference, as Ebbw Vale had some fine chances that neither Higgins nor Llewellyn were able to utilise, partly through want of tact, and partly owing to a more reliable defence.
Play fluctuated before Adams notched the next points from a pass by Lomas in front of goal, and which were augmented by the Salford captain, and at the interval Salford had finished scoring. All through the second half the result was in doubt. and following on a superb effort by Llewellyn – the best run of the match – Davies dropped a goal.
The game was not by any means great, but the Welshmen combined well, and made every use of the ball when they got it and that was pretty often and, generally speaking, found Salford a full afternoon’s work. Their forwards were robust and fast, their half-backs, especially Harvey, were tricky, and their three-quarters, notably the wing men, speedy. Twice at least Llewellyn, well fed by Jenkins, put in brilliant runs, and his play was free from the hesitancy displayed by Higgins, whilst Chick Jenkins had a lot of ill-luck in return for his smart work. “Dai” Davies, who form. played for Salford, filled the office of custodian, and still retains much of his skill as a tackler and kicker.
Owing, perhaps to a little expectancy, John was hardly up to his usual standard, and did not run so easily, but Lomas was the best man on the field, and the victim or many tacklers. Adams was moderate, and Cook and Mesley were not superior to the Welsh wings, it is just an open question whether Preston’s style was the best in a match of this sort, but he certainly kept the ball in motion, and went through a lot of mauling without injury. W. Thomas was another marked man in his bid for points, and forwards Warwick and Evan Thomas came in for scant courtesy.
Ebbw Vale are a team to be reckoned with, and came up with the determination to win-, whilst Salford are just lately a bit off their game, and may therefore congratulate themselves that they have for the eighth time reached the semi-finals. The “gate” receipts were £192.
This gallant effort of Ebbw Vale to lift the Northern Union Cup has caused general admiration to all lovers of the professional game, both north and south, and the fact that they were defeated by Salford by so small a margin has intensified that feeling of admiration and delight, After their brilliant victory over Huddersfield the previous Saturday it was thought they had a sporting chance to get into the semi-final. According to the opinion of all the critics the Valians had the better of the game. and ought to have won; the cause of the breakdown was attributed to want of finish. That being so, it seems a certainty that had the tie been played on the Bridgend Field, with a crowd of enthusiastic spectators urging them on to victory, there would have been a different result, and j Welshmen would have another step to. wards securing the blue ribbon of the Northern, Union game. However, that was not to be, and: wo must rest content with the magnificent show the team have made. Next year, with a little more experience, Ebbw Vale will be a team that will have to be seriously reconded with. It is probable that the semi-final will be played on the date on which Ebbw Vale are down to meet Warrington- another slice of luck for the Welsh champions. Seeing that, they take a substantial share of the gate, without undergoing any expense.