What the Papers Say – Tom Hughes reports:
The Drovers slipped down to eighth position in the Premiership table after coming away from Bridge Field with nothing to show for their efforts.
With a third of the league programme played the Premiership table is starting to look divided into three blocks. Pontypridd, Carmarthen Quins and Ebbw Vale look to be opening up a gap at the top. There is a middle rump of five clubs – Cardiff, Cross Keys, Bedwas, Llanelli and Llandovery – whilst Newport, Bridgend, Aberavon and Neath look to be struggling to keep off the bottom. The pressure is on the Drovers who are at the bottom end of the middle tier and will be anxious to get a home win against Newport in their next league game at home on December 20.
Llandovery have always found it tough at Bedwas and this was no exception on a nasty night against a feisty and aggressive home side that always had the edge in the quality of possession. They scrummaged harder and, although the lineouts were more or less even, the home side invariably made better ground in the loose where their ball carrying carried more weight.
Yellow cards – first to prop Greg Cunniffe for an off the ball incident and then to flanker Shaun Miles for a deliberate knock on - also played a crucial part in the evening’s proceedings. Cunniffe’s sin binning occurred when Llandovery led 7-3 after a try from centre Rhodri Jones - converted by fly half James Garland - had trumped an early penalty from Bedwas fly half Richard Powell.
A break from full back Mike Evans and swift recycling at the breakdown had let Jones twist in and with co-centre Matthew Jacobs, Evans and Jones shining in attack, it looked as if the Drovers might build on the lead. But in Cunniffe’s absence, Bedwas seized the initiative and lifted their game to rack up 13 points. Powell, who ended the night with 19 points, kicked two penalties for the lead and then converted a try from wing Matthew Pewtner to stretch it to 16-7.
The Drovers rallied with two Garland penalties to close the gap to 16-13 at the break. Powell kicked another penalty but hopes of a Llandovery victory were given a hammer blow when Miles was yellow carded with 10 minutes to go for Powell to push over his fifth penalty. Replacement hooker Rhys Hutcherson went through for a converted try to take away any possibility of a losing bonus point for the Drovers.