What the Papers Say - Huw S Thomas reports
Copyright Huw S Thomas, and used by kind permission of Huw S Thomas
In the last Pool Two game of the Fosters Cup, the honours went to Llandovery. In as free-flowing a game as one could wish to see, the sides shared ten tries with the difference the fine goal kicking of Llandovery fly half James Davies.
Sadly for the Drovers, the result had little significance given that Carmarthen Quins topped the pool and guaranteed qualification for the semi finals with an easy win over Llanelli at the Park.
The Drovers had walloped the All Whites 50-26 in a Fosters Cup game at Church Bank back in October but both sides made multiple changes for the clash at St Helen’s. The introduction of some stalwarts in centre Dai Watts, scrum half Rhodri Wells and lock Gavin Ronan was a major influence in the improved Swansea performance.
Swansea coach Richard Lancaster was happy with the result. "We could have drawn in a frantic finale but the pleasing thing is in the improvement we are making as a side. We gave the Drovers a real run for their money and it was satisfying to see some promising youngsters put their hand up for future Premiership selection."
Llandovery Team Manager Andrew Jones complimented both teams. "This was one of the youngest sides ever to play for the Drovers with an average age of 21 ranging from Jack Parkinson (18) to the old man Mike Evans (26) who was playing his 100th game for the club. That was great entertainment, with one side then the other puncturing defences and we are delighted to see some eye catching performances."
Flanker Emyr Price, centre Jack Price and No 8 Joe Powell played out of their skins whilst both young wings Rhodri Wall and Jack Parkinson got a brace of tries. The highlight of the night was some tremendous handling and running from backs and forwards alike before the 18 year old Parkinson sizzled through on an inside pass in midfield.
The only unhappy man on the Llandovery side was defence coach Gareth Potter. "Our defence was excellent in beating the Quins the week before but to let in five tries this evening did not best please me.”
The game was played at a helter skelter pace under a sympathetic referee in Dewi Phillips with skipper and flanker Richard Rees opening the scoring for the Drovers with a 5th minute try.
Swansea had their best patch with three quick-fire touchdowns from lock Gavin Ronan, wing Richard Thomas and hooker Alex Dunham which, with three conversions from fly half Jac Wilson, put them ahead 21-7.
Llandovery responded with three tries - two converted - in 13 minutes through Wall (2) and Parkinson to lead 26-21 at the break.
Davies kicked a penalty before Gully sped in, Llandovery replying with a Parkinson touchdown before Griffiths got Swansea’s fifth. And in final attack of the game Swansea wing Richard Thomas was denied by last ditch Llandovery corner flagging.