What the Papers Say - Huw S Thomas reports
Copyright Huw S Thomas, and used by kind permission of Huw S Thomas
The Drovers completed the double over much improved Swansea with this narrow and far from comfortable win.
The All Whites had been well beaten 32-9 at Church Bank back in September but they pushed Llandovery all the way in the surreal 12 noon kick off game at St Helen’s.
The relief on the face of Llandovery team manager Andrew Jones told the tension of the final minutes.
“We withstood huge pressure on our line at both scrum and line out in injury time against a pack that was far more competitive and better drilled than the one we faced two months before. Our performance in the first half when we led 12-0 was encouraging and if anything we should have made the more of a number of good line breaks. That said the Swansea defence was very tight and we fell off the pace after the break.”
“The win keeps us safely in third spot in the West table and if we can win our last game we will end the opening phase of the season in second place. That final game against second placed Quins on December 23 should be a humdinger.”
When the Drovers raced into a 12-0 lead in the first quarter of an hour, it looked to all intents and purpose that a bonus point win was on the cards.
Forwards Joe Powell, Jack Jones, Duane Eager and Shaun Miles wee omnipresent in attack, half back brothers Scott and Jack Maynard kept the ball moving into space and centre Ryan Evans and Rhodri Jones made good half breaks.
Swift handling, clever switches of play and quick support made tries for hooker Matthew Moore and wing Rhodri Wall. Fly half Jack Maynard kicked one conversion but chances came and went despite the lion’s share of both possession and territory.
It was 12-0 at the break and this soon became 15-0 after a Jack Maynard penalty.
Prop Berian Watkins was yellow carded and the All Whites used their numerical advantage immediately to force a penalty try going into the last quarter.
It took a terrific cover tackle by skipper Lee Rees to deny wing Gareth Rees a try but, back to 15 men, the Drovers went 18-7 ahead with a second Maynard penalty.
Swansea were right back in the game when replacement back Gareth Walters – a former pupil of Pantycelyn HS, Llandovery - made a fine break and fed his scrum half who put replacement prop Steff Jones charging over from 15 metres
Centre Owen Howe kicked the conversion and the rest of the game was a matter of Llandovery defensive effort against Swansea forward pressure.
The final moments were spent on or near the Llandovery try line and a vital final scrum went the way of the thankful Drovers.