Ebbw Vale took a significant step towards the Swalec Division One East title after thrashing Merthyr while second-placed Bargoed fell to a home defeat.
The Steelmen, who had not played in the league for almost three weeks, showed no signs of rustiness as they racked up 10 tries in a spectacular 68-8 win at Eugene Cross Park. They moved seven points clear of Bargoed - and still have a game in hand.
Ebbw scored five tries in each half as they notched up the highest score in the division this season. Joe Simpson, Tom Ashmead, Dai Jones and Wes Cunliffe grabbed a brace apiece, while Dorian Jones - who crossed for a try himself - produced a near perfect kicking display.
Meanwhile, Bargoed slipped to a disappointing 16-14 home defeat to third-placed Newbridge at Bargoed Park. Tries from the visitors' Mark Edwards and Andrew Quick along with a pair of penalties from Neil Burnett were enough to condemn the hosts to their fourth defeat this season, and the first at Bargoed Park.
A touchdown for Gareth Davies and three penalties from Matthew Hurley proved to be only consolations for the home side.
Beddau triumphed in the mid-table battle for superiority as they ground out a 26-21 win over Blackwood at Mount Pleasant Park. The Green and Golds also picked up a try-scoring bonus point, after tries from Stephen Robinson, Bradley Coombes, Ieaun Coombes and Glenn Slater secured their side's second win of the season over the visitors, following their 14-5 win at Glan yr Afon Park in October.
Beddau also move to within a point of fifth-placed Treorchy after the Zebras' 24-20 loss at the lowly Glamorgan Wanderers. A double for Wanderers centre Charlie Johnson made the difference at the Memorial Ground, and despite two late tries for Treorchy, there was no way back into the game.
Elsewhere, Mountain Ash and Rumney played out a 12-12 draw at Duffryn Pennar Parc, while Gilfach Goch condemned basement side Tredegar to yet another defeat, as they ran out easy 41-7 winners at Welfare Park.
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