What the Papers Say - Huw S Thomas reports
Copyright Huw S Thomas, and used by kind permission of Huw S Thomas
The Tywi Valley Boxing Day derby ended in stalemate. The home side dominated the forward exchanges to secure 70% of possession and although they had the Drovers on the ropes for most of the game, they could breach the visiting defence just the once.
Drovers captain Phil Day could not hide his delight at the draw. “We were smashed at the scrums and yet the boys showed a great will to hang on in and we should have won it at the end,” smiled Day who had an outstanding game in the loose.
The result leaves the two sides locked on 37 points with just two games apiece to play and within firm reach of a top 8 place if they can win at least one more game each.
The Quins had to rely on Scarlets full back Aled Thomas for 15 of their points but their outside backs had neither the guile nor pace to score more than one try.
The Quins forwards annihilated the Llandovery scrum and their line out was also far better organised and decisive but they faced a team who covered like dervishes in the loose. The back five of locks Bryn Griffiths and Phil Day plus the breakaway unit of Stuart Worrall, Richard Brooks and Shaun Miles tackled themselves to a standstill and the Llandovery backs had enough speed to add to their high work rate in defence to deny the Quins.
And if the Llandovery backs had enjoyed the possession of their opposite numbers then they would have certainly added to their tally of three tries. They had a terrific finisher in Llandovery College wing Corey Baldwin who showed great purpose, elusiveness and strength to grab two first half tries and mark himself out as a star of the future.
Full back Lee Williams had given Carmarthen an early lead with a try, soon trumped by a brace from Wales U18 international Baldwin but two Thomas penalties kept them in front 11-10 at the break.
With Llandovery in all sorts of problems at the scrum Thomas added three penalties to one from fly half Jack Maynard to make it 20-13 going into the last quarter.
With the Quins forwards less dominant in the last 10 minutes the Llandovery backs looked more and more threatening with Baldwin, centre Richard Smith and full back Lee Rees causing alarm bells to ring.
A Baldwin break out and good support gave Rees the chance to race over before throwing a cheeky pass in goal to a better positioned Day who added to the excitement by nearly dropping the ball. It gave Maynard a better position to kick the conversion and the fly half calmly slotted home the kick to tie the scores.
And if a pass from replacement lock Reynier Bernardo had gone to hand late on then the Drovers would have obtained a win to delight the large band of travelling supporters