What the Papers Say - Huw S Thomas reports
Copyright Huw S Thomas, and used by kind permission of Huw S Thomas
The Drovers moved up into the top half of the Premiership table with this battling win over ever abrasive Cross Keys. It was their third win in six games and sets them up for the visit to Ebbw Vale on October 29.
They are not in Premiership action for two weeks during which time some of their players will be wanted by the Scarlets for the British and Irish Cup games against Nottingham and Richmond. In the meantime a Llandovery Development XV will play in the Fosters Challenge Cup starting with a home fixture against Swansea this Wednesday evening (KO 7 30)
On Saturday there was little to choose between the sides for long periods but the Drovers were always the more adventurous and took their chances better to move up above Keys in the table.
Keys looked to have salvaged a losing bonus point when trailing 23-17 in the 77th minute but a penalty by home pivot Jack Maynard sent them back home to Gwent pointless.
Coach Euros Evans realised the importance of the win which took his charges up to seventh place in the table. “If we had lost it would have meant us slipping down to tenth with two games against last year’s champions and runners up Ebbw Vale and Pontypridd awaiting us. Rightly or wrongly the new format has put pressure on everybody at an early stage and points are precious,” added a relieved Evans.
When Keys lost a line out on their own throw, it allowed hooker Dafydd Hughes the time to gather and crash over for an early try converted by fly half Jack Maynard.
Keys skipper Scott Matthews then burst through some weak Llandovery tackles for a try converted by fly half Josh Prosser before two Maynard penalties secured a 13-7 interval lead.
Soon after the restart Keys put huge pressure on the home line and were inches short from two driving mauls.
Prosser and Maynard swapped penalties but when home lock Bryn Griffiths was yellow carded Keys threw everything into attack only for a mix up in midfield and dropped pass to cost them dearly when Davies scooped up the ball and ran in from 60 metres, Maynard converting.
Scrum half Owain Leonard gave Keys hope with a try from a quickly taken tap penalty converted by Prosser only for Maynard to take the losing bonus point away with his fourth penalty and register a personal tally of 16 points.