It took until the 50th minute for the Drovers to edge ahead for the first time at 15 – 13, but then a converted try plus a penalty to a converted try from Swansea gave them a reasonable margin of victory.
Swansea chalked up the first score after six minutes, scrum half Justin James touching down with a conversion by full back Nicky Thomas. The Drovers’ first try, from captain Phil Day after 20 minutes, reduced the deficit but Ian Brooks’s conversion missed the target.
Thomas’s penalty took the score to 10-5 at the end of the first quarter, and that was how it stayed to halftime, with both Brooks and Thomas missing chances to split the posts.
Early in the second half a successful penalty kick by Llandovery wing Lee Evans was matched by Thomas’s second penalty, and it was also Evans who finished off an excellent Drovers’ move with a try which he converted himself.
A further 3-pointer from Evans, who then converted a try by replacement hooker Luke Lewis, gave the Drovers a safe-looking 13-25 lead, until Mark Harvey’s try, converted by Thomas, ensured a losing bonus point for the All Whites.
What the Papers Say – Tom Hughes reports:
High flying Llandovery went up to second place in the Principality Premiership with this very hard fought win at St Helen's. The Drovers were confident after Friday night’s 41-3 demolition of Llanelli but were taken all the way by an All Whites side desperate to get away from the lower reaches of the Premiership.
The Drovers outscored Swansea by three tries to two but for long periods had to fight a tough battle for possession and survive some desperate late home attacks.
Llandovery were a trifle unfortunate to be trailing 10-5 at half time as they came close to a couple of tries to add to the one by lock and skipper Phil Day. That said, long serving full back Nicky Thomas missed a fairly straightforward penalty that would have stretched the home lead to 13-5.
Swansea, who had former Drover and Osprey Lyndon Bateman at lock, had got a try through scrum half Justin James and a conversion and penalty from Thomas but the Drovers held on to the ball better after the break. And with centre Matthew Jacobs a real danger in midfield the momentum gradually built.
Wing Lee Evans and Thomas swapped penalties before a sweeping attack ended with a converted try when Evans sidestepped his way through the Swansea defence to score. His conversion produced a 15-13 Llandovery lead which became 18-13 with another penalty from the Waunarlwydd product.
The referee refused one line out drive touchdown through being unsighted but then was up in a good position to see replacement hooker Luke Lewis burrow over for a converted try to give the Drovers a 12 point cushion.
Swansea refused to bend the knee and got back into the game with a well worked try from wing Mark Harvey (albeit judged by many observers to have clearly knocked on in the process) which Thomas improved upon with four minutes to go. Both sides went for tries in a frantic finale - the home side strove for a win or draw, the Drovers for a bonus point - but defences scrambled back to stop any further scoring.