Llandovery defended the title they won in 2017 with plenty of gusto but had to give second best to the experienced Carmarthen Warriors at Sunday’s Aberaeron 7s writes Tom Hughes

The Warriors beat the Drovers 17-10 in the tightest of semi finals and were firm favourites to win their ninth Aberaeron title but surprisingly lost to newcomers Gogerddan Raiders 19-10 in the final

A young Drovers squad included a number of Llandovery Youth players past and present, a former Llandovery College captain in Rhodri Bullock  and new faces in Lewis Jones and Jordan Evans (both Llanelli Wanderers) , Brandon Wood (Pontardulais), Arthur Lennon (Nant Conwy), Matthew Hughes and Carwyn Evans ( both Aberystwyth).

The newcomers brought plenty of speed and verve but the wet and windy conditions made running and handling difficult.

Only skipper and fly half Kristian Jones – 2017 Player of the Tournament – remained from last year’s winning squad.

Llandovery coach Gareth Potter was disappointed not to retain the trophy but upbeat at the performance of some of the very young players.

“It was a good day for a very inexperienced side that improved leaps and bounds as the day went on.

“Apart from Kristian Jones, who led the team superbly, all the other boys have joined us this summer, including three Llandovery youth products, including Ryan Williams who caught the eye and continued to outline his potential.”

“The two Aberystwyth recruits, Carwyn Evans and Matthew Hughes stood out with Matthew making some excellent long range breaks and was superb in regaining kick offs.”

“Brandon Wood looked very sharp on the wing and finished for some top tries. Rhodri Bullock battled tirelessly and Lewis Jones was comfortable on the ball.”

“I thought us unlucky not to beat the Warriors in the semi final after a great fight back but a desperate tackle denied Morgan Price a score right at the death.”

“It was great to see young half backs Steffan Davies and Arthur Lennon representing the team for the first time.”

“ Steffan, son of Llandovery backs coach, Simon Davies is a Cefneithin a RFC product whilst Arthur, who impressed with Nant Conwy earlier in the month, will start training with the Drovers next week whilst on dual registration  with Newcastle Emlyn.”

Penallta caused an early stir when in the first game of the tournament, they outscored the Drovers three tries to two in a 15-12 shocks.

Good wins over Warriors Legends 19-14 and Ravens 31-12 brought a semi final clash with the Warriors but despite tries from Wood and  Jones the Drovers were pipped  17-10.

The Gogerddan Raiders had tasted sevens success at the Frome Open and with a smattering of players from London, Bristol and Cheltenham, they shaded the Warriors 19-10 in the final, claiming the £1000 prize money in style.

The outstanding Finn Dewer was voted Player of the Tournament

Local side Aberaeron got to the final of the Plate but were edged out 19-12 by Bargoed

Cup semi-finals: Carmarthen Warriors 17 Llandovery 10; Gogerddan Raiders 28 Penallta 5

Final: Gogerddan Raiders 19 Carmarthen Warriors 10

Plate final: Bargoed 19 Aberaeron 12

Cardiff 16 13 0 3 396 243 61
Carmarthen Quins 17 10 3 4 372 278 54
Aberavon 16 11 0 5 371 272 53
Llandovery 16 9 2 5 344 285 48
Pontypridd 18 10 0 8 394 376 47
Merthyr 18 8 0 10 362 374 44
RGC 1404 17 8 1 8 409 381 43
Newport 15 7 0 8 294 278 37
Swansea 17 7 0 10 246 292 35
Llanelli 15 6 0 9 293 412 27
Ebbw Vale 17 4 2 11 283 351 27
Bridgend Ravens 18 3 0 15 271 493 19