What the Papers Say - Huw S Thomas reports
Copyright Huw S Thomas, and used by kind permission of Huw S Thomas
Llandovery clinched their place in the Premiership new-year top league with this comfortable win over the All Whites.
Needing to win and score four tries for the bonus point to guarantee finishing in the top eight of the league, the Drovers scored six and always had the style and panache to see off a hard working but outclassed Swansea.
It was a memorable day for Llandovery College sixth former Corey Baldwin who raced in for a hat trick of tries to add to the brace he got against Carmarthen Quins on Boxing Day. He, full back Lee Rees, scrum half Rhodri Davies and centre Richard Smith all had too much pace and trickery for the All Whites in a game well refereed by Simon Mills.
“We had the game won by half time after four tries to Swansea’s one,” said Llandovery Team Manager Andrew Jones, “but we predictably took our foot off the accelerator when we knew we were virtually certain to finish in the top eight. We can now go to Llanelli with no pressure on us other than to play attractive rugby and then look forward to the new Premiership structure in February.”
The biggest crowd of the season, which included Drovers fan and East Carmarthenshire and Dinefwr MP Jonathan Edwards - spotted wearing a Llandovery RFC tie in the House of Commons before Christmas - were treated to some thrilling attractive rugby for three quarters of the game.
If truth be told there was a big gap between the two sides and only a raft of second half Llandovery changes allied to Swansea’s admirable grit and determination stopped a runaway win.
The Llandovery scrum was strong and the back five mobile, with skipper and lock Phil Day, flanker Shaun Miles and No 8 Joe Powell in outstanding form whilst the backs were forever running and probing the Swansea defence. Fly half Jack Maynard was in his usual reliable form with the boot, kicking five conversions out of six to go over 200 points for the season including 168 points in the Premiership.
It was 26-13 at the break after tries from Baldwin (2), Smith and a penalty try for a deliberate knock on by scrum half Martin Luckwell had trumped a lone opportunist try from former Drover wing Andrew Claypole and five points from the boot of fly half Jac Wilson, Swansea’s best player.
When more tries from the dashing Baldwin and prop Dean Howells in his 150th game for the club stretched the home lead to 40-13 it was all over before Swansea replacement lock Gavin Ronan scrambled over for a consolation score.
Man of the Match: Corey Baldwin (Llandovery)
Swansea Man of the Match: Jac Wilson