Tom Hughes reports:
The Drovers went down to their first defeat of the season in controversial circumstances at the Talbot Athletic Ground. In the 50th minute and Llandovery in the lead 14-13, tight head prop Greg Cunniffe was yellow carded for a scrum infringement before deciding to offer referee Price some choice views on the decision. Andover based Price – son of former Olympics 110 metre hurdler Berwyn Price – did not take the advice kindly. He reacted by showing Cunniffe a red card and the Drovers had to play a full half hour with 14 men.
They went behind 20-14 but bravely resisted under the increasing pressure and with a minute to go wing Lee Williams brought the scores to 20-19 only for replacement fly half Kristian Jones to narrowly miss the winning conversion.
Team Manager Andrew Jones was proud how the team fought hard in the second half. “Against a quality team like Aberavon it’s a tough call to defend a long time with just 14 men but the boys conceded just the one try after the red card,” said the former Barbarians prop. “And not only that, they combined brilliantly to work Lee over in the corner to give us a chance of victory.”
“Unfortunately the conversion was from the touchline and Kristian just missed a very difficult conversion. We had to be content with a losing bonus point but still remain top of the West Conference table, five points clear of Aberavon and RGC who drew 16-16 with Swansea at St Helen’s.”
“We will be looking to get right back to form when we entertain the All Whites this Saturday.”
The Drovers led 14-10 at the break after two tries from full back Tomi Lewis and two outstanding conversions into a strong cross wind from fly half Jack Maynard had trumped a try from bustling ex- Cornish Pirates centre Rheon James and five points from former Llandovery fly half James Garland.
Skipper Garland brought the Wizards to 14-13 with another penalty before referee Price gave Cunniffe his marching orders.
Three minutes later, a try from centre Joe Thomas, made and converted by the influential Garland made it 20-14 with Aberavon likely to pull clear.
The 14 men, with skipper Richard Brooks and Scarlets hooker Emyr Phillips to the fore, battled away to the very end and a try from the darting Williams brought the Drovers to within a point in the 79th minute only for the conversion to fail.