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 to sixth place in the Premiership with this comprehensive win over Pontypridd. In an incident packed game in which referee Newman dished out two red cards per team, Llandovery recorded their fifth consecutive win in Premiership and Fosters Cup competitions since losing to Bedwas on October 1.
They had control of the game throughout with the forwards under skipper Phil Day putting in another huge shift and could easily have run in a half century of points if passes had stuck at crucial moments and in crucial areas.
The crisp and confident display was a fitting tribute to their former back row Eifion Gwynne who passed away last week at the age of 42.
Coach Euros Evans – ever the sportsman – accepted that Ponty were under strength but was full of praise for the side. “After beating champions Ebbw Vale the week before, this victory against the side that finished top of the table last year will give us huge confidence in the remaining seven games,” said Evans. “With Bridgend and Cardiff winning there are more teams now in contention for the top eight and the bonus point we got with the late try - and any other future bonus point - could turn out to be very important come the final placings in January.”
“We scrummaged well, had the better of the loose and always looked more fluent behind the scrum,” offered Evans.
The coach was not too happy about the red card for full back Lee Rees who was harshly dismissed for taking a man out in the air and the club may well ask the WRU to review the case by video.
The other red card for the Drovers went to No 8 Richard Brooks who was given his marching orders along with the Ponty pair of lock Dan Godfrey and No 9 Owen Sheppeard after a mass brawl between the two packs.
The Drovers led 13-3 at the break thanks to a try by Scarlets centre Richard Smith and eight points from the boot of fly half Jack Maynard trumping a lone penalty by fly half Callum Hall.
Four red cards in a mad five minutes disrupted the flow of the game but the resulting extra space on the park was to the advantage of the more mobile and swifter home backs.
Another Maynard penalty made it 16-3 and with Maynard confidently dictating tactics the Drovers pulled away.
Excellent hooker Dafydd Hughes stole away for a try from a maul, darting wing Rhodri Wall finished off an Aaron Warren break and with Maynard converting, it was 30-3.
Sweeping attacks brought a multitude of chances and replacement Rhodri Jones finally secured the bonus point in the last move of the game. Maynard inevitably converted for a personal tally of 17 points to bring his Premiership tally up to an impressive 104 points after just eight games.