What the Papers Say - Huw S Thomas reports
Copyright Huw S Thomas, and used by kind permission of Huw S Thomas
After their excellent win over RGC in their first match in the Top 8 tier, Llandovery found a rampant Pontypridd too strong all round at Sardis Road.
The Drovers had beaten Ponty 37-3 back in November but were never in contention this time against a side determined to erase the rare stigma of a heavy defeat. The winners moved to the top of the Tier One table with this bonus point win whilst the Drovers slip down to sixth place, in the scramble for a top four place and a semi final spot.
Life does not get any easier for Llandovery this week when the Cup holders travel to play RGC in the quarter final of the National Cup. The two teams have already met twice in the league, sharing honours with one win apiece, and the long trip to Colwyn Bay will be a huge test for the Drovers.
“We will need to sharpen up our game and get off to a better start in what should be a rousing game between two like minded attacking forces,” said coach Euros Evans. “We were second best against a Ponty pack that produced very quick ball and as a result were always stretched in defence.”
If Ponty get advantage up front then any visitor to Sardis Road is in for a hard busy time in defence and the Drovers were no exception. Early indiscipline allowed Pontypridd to lay siege to the try line and a break by wing Lewis Williams allowed centre Bradley Coombes to score wide out, outside half Callum Hall converting. This gave them the perfect encouragement they needed and after they attacked from deep, Coombes went in for his second try.
Llandovery struck back when outside half Jack Maynard jinked through for a try which he then converted, but after a line-out drive on the right, the home backs moved the ball swiftly to the other side of the pitch for wing Dale Stuckey to go over. Maynard and Hall swapped penalties to make it 20-10 at the interval.
Soon after the break, skipper and centre Dafydd Lockyer made the groundwork for the Ponty bonus point try scored by veteran flanker Rhys Shellard, converted by Hall. The home backs were now playing with dash and verve and Stuckey and back Gary Williams stuck the dagger further into Llandovery with tries five and six.
Llandovery never gave up, though clearly second best, and full back Mike Evans scored a great solo try from his own 22, with Maynard converting easily
Hall added a penalty to make it 42-17 but in stoppage time the Drovers got their third try when wing Aaron Warren chased his own kick to snaffle in under the posts.