What the Papers Say - Huw S Thomas reports
Copyright Huw S Thomas, and used by kind permission of Huw S Thomas
The Drovers opened their Premiership campaign by going down to narrow defeat at the hands of Aberavon at the Talbot Athletic Ground.
On Bank Holiday Sunday Llandovery had beaten the Wizards 46-21 in the final of the National 7s at Cardiff Arms Park but this time - at the 15 a side game - the tables were turned in a closely fought tussle where the home forwards had the edge.
The Drovers have 14 games left between now and January 7 – seven home and seven away –to try and finish in the top eight of the new 16 strong Premiership. That top eight will then go on and play each other to decide the 2016-2017 title.
Four old Drovers in the Wizards’ ranks had the satisfaction of getting one over their old Church Bank colleagues. Backs coach Lyndon Lewis, conditioning coach Howard Thomas and backs Matthew Jacobs and James Garland were all delighted with the home win against some of their old chums.
Lewis was an astute coach, Thomas kicked the final conversion in Llandovery’s 20-18 Cup Final win over Cardiff in 2007, whilst centre Jacobs with 185 appearances and fly half Garland - with 683 points in four years - are all fondly remembered at Church Bank.
Lewis was sporting enough to say that the game was always on a knife edge. “We expected the tightest of games against a club close to my heart but we made fewer errors in the slippery conditions and took our chances in a game that could have gone either way.”
Llandovey coach Euros Evans rued some important miscommunication and lack of concentration in defence. “When we went up 13- 8 we were in the ascendancy but poor decision making at both ends cost dearly. This Premiership is going to be very tight and a real scramble to get into the top eight by January and our consolation is that we got a point here that few sides will.”
The Drovers led 10-8 at the break despite a lack of possession, a try from outstanding flanker Shaun Miles plus 5 points from fly half Jack Maynard trumping a try from scrum half David Pritchard and a Garland penalty.
Full back Lee Rees was rock like in defence and when Maynard stretched the lead to 13-8, the Drovers looked in a good position before crucial errors in defence led to Aberavon tries for wing Richard Carter and a penalty try at a driven maul.
A Maynard penalty closed the gap to 22-16 before a close range line out went wrong for the Drovers in a prime position leaving the Wizards to take home the bacon.