What the Papers Say - Huw S Thomas reports
Copyright Huw S Thomas, and used by kind permission of Huw S Thomas
In the last game of the season for both sides, there was plenty of action, thrills, spills and eight tries in the Church Bank derby.
The Drovers finished their season in style by gaining a comfortable five tries to three win over their county rivals. The win took them into a final sixth position in Tier One and consigned the Quins to bottom spot.
They had much the more invention and adventure in their game and were only denied a clearer victory by the hard working Quins pack.
Coach Euros Evans was full of praise for his team.
“After a very sticky patch we have come back bravely in the last three games to beat Ebbw Vale and the Quins and lose narrowly to Aberavon so that will take us into next season with high hopes,” said Evans, who with Simon Davies and Gareth Potter has prepared the squad through the year with astuteness and huge enthusiasm.
“It would have been easy to take our foot off the pedal with nothing to play for but we were determined to finish on a high and apart from the set piece I thought we had much the better of proceedings from first to last.”
“And the future looks good after seeing the class of some of our younger players like full back Tomi Lewis and lock Lewis-Ellis Jones and the continuing improvement of the likes of lock Joe Powell and our player of the season – flanker Stuart Worrall.”
The game at a sunlit Church Bank had a real Tywi Valley flavour to it. There were five former Drovers in the Quins starting line up – fly half Steff Marshall, scrum half Ifan Beynon-Thomas, flanker Andy Green, wing Dylan Morgans and centre Josh Batcup .
There was a current Llandovery College player on each side – Tomi Lewis for the Drovers and Aron Hemmings for the Quins and two former Llandovery College players in the Quins pack in prop Nathan Williams and lock Lee Taylor.
But the main influence for the Drovers was Carmarthen born and bred Jack Maynard who has scored in every one of the 26 games that he has played and racked up 301 points in the process. He was in action in the first minute, converting a try by right wing Jack Parkinson after good running by Llandovery College and Wales U18 full back Tomi Lewis.
It was soon 14-0 after wing Aaron Warren burst over after a storming run from prop Dean Howells before the Quins settled down, fly half Steffan Marshall dummying through past two Llandovery defenders.
A slick Llandovery front of the line out peel saw hooker Matthew Moore sprinting away before putting in flanker Duane Eager, Maynard converting from wide out.
With the wind, the Drovers kept up the pressure and claimed the bonus point when Howells was at hand to dive over, Maynard knocking the conversion over from the touch line for a 28-5 interval lead.
A penalty try and yellow card against lock Joe Powell brought the Quins to 28-12 and within a minute it was 28-19 after hooker Rhodri Clancy had burst over from a rolling maul.
Llandovery steadied the ship with the introduction of new blood, the contribution of prop Greg Cunniffe of significant importance in the tight.
A Parkinson kick ahead made a fifth Llandovery try for the startlingly quick Lewis but with replacements flooding on, the game lost its shape. A yellow card for Clancy was bad news for the visitors and a brilliant run from the leggy Warren all but brought a sixth home try.
Maynard surprisingly missed a penalty kick he would have normally slotted with his eyes closed but it was of little consequence as the Drovers emphasised their position as top dogs in the Scarlets region.