What the Papers Say - Huw S Thomas reports
Copyright Huw S Thomas, and used by kind permission of Huw S Thomas
The Drovers finished runners up to Principality Premiership champions Merthyr in scoring six converted tries to three for another bonus point win at Church Bank writes Huw S Thomas.
Under the astute coaching triumvirate of Euros Evans, Simon Davies and Gareth Potter they ended phase two of their 2017-2018 campaign with their 12th win in 15 games.
The team’s adventure in attack and bravery in defence, their consistency and grand team spirit made it a memorable season in which they finished on 63 points, eight points behind the cash rich Ironmen of Merthyr and clear of the chasing pack, best of which were Pontypridd and RGC.
It was sweet too for the players to finish best of the three teams in the Scarlets region ahead of the Quins - fifth on 57 points – and Llanelli – 12th on 36 points.
Team Manager Andrew Jones was as fair and constructive as ever in his post match interview.
“Both teams were positive from the start, trying to keep the ball alive with some great handling and offloads.”
“Llanelli will be disappointed not to have been ahead at half time as they were the better side in the first 30 minutes, carried hard in attack and pressurised us in defence.”
“We knew it would be tough they've had some good results lately, the pack has improved under the coaching of former Drover Emyr Phillips.”
“But we showed again how strong we are in the last quarter, we got on top in the set pieces and played with high tempo and great finishing from Aaron Warren and Kristian Jones put the game to bed.”
“It’s been a long, hard and tough run in “ added Head Coach Evans “after a lot of our games had to be re-arranged after the spell of bad weather after Christmas.”
“The boys emptied the tank in claiming this last win to keep our unbeaten home record and to score six converted tries from six different players was a perfect end to the season.”
“I cannot speak too highly of all concerned both on and off the field and we look forward to a richly deserved summer holiday to recharge the batteries.”
As in the eventual win over the Quins a fortnight before, Llandovery conceded two early tries to trail 14-0.
Prop Ben Leung and wing Matthew Jenkins penalised a sluggish start, fly half Andrew Sutton adding the conversions but the Drovers were quick to regain their composure under skipper and No 8 Richard Brooks.
Rhodri Jones made the break to put in co-centre Ryan Evans before wing Rhodri Wall made good ground leading up to Brooks crossing and with ever reliable fly half Jack Maynard kicking both conversions it was level 14-14 at the interval.
Rhodri Jones then swept past defenders for the lead and although Llanelli came back level with a second try from the powerful Jenkins, the Drovers then took over.
Man of the Match Stuart Worrall was at the heart of the forward effort but it was Aaron Warren – playing in the unusual position of full back – who was the key influence in that final quarter when the Drovers added three more converted tries.
He ran long and fast for a try of his own, made another for wing Lee Williams with a brilliant sortie from deep and finished by sending replacement back Kristian Jones galloping home.
*** In the presentation evening that followed in the club house, skipper Brooks was named Players Player of the Year, Rhodri Jones the Management’s Player of the Year and scrum half Lee Rees the Supporters Player of the Year.
Tries – R Evans, R Brooks, R Jones, A Warren, L Williams, K Jones
Cons – J Maynard (6)
Tries – M Jenkins (2), B Leung
Cons – A Sutton (3)