What the Papers Say - Huw S Thomas reports
Copyright Huw S Thomas, and used by kind permission of Huw S Thomas
An exciting five tries to four win over the Black and Ambers moved Llandovery up to third place in the Premiership with just three games left to play.
In the last home game of the season, a brilliant first half display of running rugby served as a fitting tribute to the outgoing duo of President Phil Davies and Chairman Handel Davies
The Drovers are on 65 points, four behind Ebbw Vale who have played one game more and just one behind Pontypridd. With away games to come at Bedwas, Carmarthen Quins and Cardiff, they will probably need to win all three, such is the tightness of the race for the play offs.
In the absence of Head Coach Euros Evans, Llandovery Assistant Coach Simon Davies who played over 50 games – mainly at full back - for the Black and Ambers back in the 1990s was relieved with the win. “We played some great stuff before the break but fair play to my old club, they rallied brilliantly and we are delighted at the end of the day to get the maximum five points that keep us in contention at the top end of the table. We were hanging on at the end but had done enough in the first half to put us safe.”
When a vibrant and adventurous Llandovery led 30-8 at the break through tries from new South African wing Lex Botha (2), a penalty try and one from pivot Jack Maynard to a lone effort from No 8 Brendan Lampitt, all seemed lost for Newport. But galvanised by skipper and lock Adam Brown and the newly injected verve of flanker Rhys Jenkins, they rallied with a smart try from bustling centre Wes Cunliffe before home skipper and centre Matthew Jacobs swept in.
The game looked effectively over but poor Llandovery discipline at the contact area leaked a lot of penalties which Newport used wisely. The Newport pack upped the tempo and, helped by good field positions from fly half Matt O’Brien, they put increasing pressure on the home defence.
Wales U20 hooker Dafydd Hughes, who had been outstanding in broken play, copped a yellow card and Newport wing Jon Morris soon dashed over from a clever cross kick from O’Brien. Just as the Drovers looked as if they would withstand any further pressure, a last gasp try from flanker Rhodri Jones brought the visitors as close as they ever got in a frenetic finale.