What the Papers Say - Huw S Thomas reports
Copyright Huw S Thomas, and used by kind permission of Huw S Thomas
Llandovery started off phase 2 of the Premiership campaign with a clear cut win over Aberavon. In front of the S4C live cameras, the Drovers added another four points to the seven they carried forward from the West Conference to give hope that they might well be serious challengers to win the league.
It means that after the first round of games in phase 2, they are in fourth place in the 16 strong table with seven home games and seven away games to play between now and May 12.
Quicker in thought and deed against a one paced Aberavon, they were full value for the three tries to one win.
Their defence with captain and No 8 Richard Brooks to the fore was again out of the top drawer and the extra invention of their backs under scrum half Lee Rees a feature of the win.
They had to soak up a lot of early pressure as the big Aberavon forwards pounded away at the try line before they finally breached the line when centre Will Price went over near enough to the posts for former Drover James Garland to convert.
The home reply was immediate. Fly half Jack Maynard was short with a 40 metre penalty but Aberavon failed to cover the kick and wing Aaron Warren was swiftly on to the ball to get first hands on the loose ball. Maynard converted and was soon busy again with another conversion. Centre Rhodri Jones made a good break to put Rees scuttling in under the posts for a 14-7 lead at the end of an eventful first quarter.
The visitors had the lion’s share of possession in the first half but it was Maynard who missed a straight penalty to extend the home lead.
Soon after the restart, the Llandovery scrum forced a penalty which Maynard slotted from 30 metres and the fly half then easily added a second from an Aberavon offside.
The momentum was now with the Drovers and another Maynard penalty made it 23-7 as the rain began to fall.
Aberavon looked devoid of ideas against a more alert opposition and replacement flanker Emyr Price drove over from a line out to settle matters at the death. The try was converted by Maynard who ended up with a 15 points tally.
Coach Euros Evans left Church Bank with a smile on his face. “Given the very tight games we have had with Aberavon in recent years, that was a very good win for us. We soaked up early pressure with some determined defence but once we took the lead, I thought we were always in control and always played in the right areas.”
“Our inexperienced props – Jamie Hughes and Berian Watkins – had big games at the scrum in an area that Aberavon are usually so strong and I always thought we had a bit more sparkle than them behind the scrum. It was vital to start off the second phase programme with a win and we look forward to entertaining RGC in our next game.”