Cinderford 15 Llandovery 12
Llandovery continued their preparations for the new Premiership season with a visit to Cinderford where they fell to narrow defeat at the hands of the Forest of Dean side writes Tom Hughes.
Cinderford were promoted to England’s National One League last season and proved very tough opposition for the Drovers, eventually squeezing home in a predictably tight contest
Coach Euros Evans was short of some leading players – lock Joe Powell and wing Aaron Warren the stand out absentees – but used all the squad for valuable game time.
There was welcome return into a Drovers shirt for wing Richard Williams after his unfulfilled stint at Llanelli and there were a number of new faces who are trying to break into the final nominated squad, including centre Lloyd Phillips, the son of former Wales flanker Rowland Phillips.
The Aberystwyth pair of full back Matthew Hughes and centre Carwyn Jones looked promising recruits and possible contenders for a Premiership squad
Cinderford gained promotion from National South 2 last year and have been strengthened for the new campaign against the likes of Rosslyn Park and Plymouth Albion by signing seven Gloucester players on dual registration.
Three of their squad had gained representative honours playing for England Counties against Romania in the summer and one of them flanker Matthew Lane was in fine form against Llandovery.
The powerful Cinderford eight had much the better of play and denied Llandovery the possession that their dangerous backs craved.
The home side opened the scoring with a penalty from fly half Leon Hemming but scrum half Lee Rees and hooker Matthew Moore crossed to put the Drovers 12-10 at half time, Cinderford having got a penalty try from a line out.
Centre Rhodri Jones and fly half Jack Maynard were in the build up to the tries and Maynard kicked a conversion but the defence was not up to resisting a line out drive which brought the penalty try.
Multiple changes to both teams did nothing to separate the sides but the vital score came from the Foresters in the 50th minute when they got their second try of the game through wing Reuben Norville to go ahead 15-12.
Llandovery strove hard for the winner but possession was fleeting and time ran out to leave Cinderford narrow winners.
Llandovery coach Euros Evans was disappointed with the result.
“To be honest we didn’t take a great deal from the game, they were very much forward orientated and didn’t look to play that much.”
The scrum was a real battle, one scrum in the first half lasted 13 minutes. The scrum however was one of the positives but the line out was disappointing.”
“We had too much error in our game and gave the ball away too often but there were some god individual performances from prop Jamie Hughes and new backs Carwyn Evans and Tom Dew”.
The big concern for Evans will be to ensure that the forwards get more ball at the set piece and there will sure to be a lot of work hard on forward play in the coming training sessions to put things right before Bargoed
Llandovery: Matthew Hughes; Richard Williams, Rhodri Jones, Ryan Evans, Dafydd Pritchard; Jack Maynard, Lee Rees; Jamie Hughes, Matthew Moore, Berian Watkins. Jordan Evans, Jack Jones, Lewis Ellis-Jones, Richard Brooks (capt), Stuart Worrall
Replacements all used: Ricky Guest, Dexter Thomas, Llyr Green, Matthew Donoghue, Tom Davies, Rhodri Williams, Scott Maynard, Kristian Jones, Ian Ellis, Lloyd Phillips, Lewis Jones, Carwyn Evans, Tom Dew