What the Papers Say - Huw S Thomas reports
Copyright Huw S Thomas, and used by kind permission of Huw S Thomas
After the bitter disappointment of defeat at the hands of Newport in the Cup semi-final, the Drovers went back to winning ways against Bridgend writes Huw S Thomas
The Ravens came into the game in good form but despite an adventurous approach and plenty of ball after the break they were outscored by four tries to one and were never quite good enough to take the spoils.
Llandovery looked out of sight six minutes into the second half when tries from scrum half Lee Rees and tireless flanker Duane Eager gave them a 26-6 lead and although Bridgend had a lot of possession thereafter they could only breach the Llandovery defence on the one occasion.
Llandovery coach Euros Evans gave his side plenty of praise.
“After the low of a narrow Cup semi final defeat and its possible psychological effect, it was great to see the boys come back with a bonus point win.”
“I thought we were well in control when we went 26-6 up early in the second half but fair play to Bridgend they never stopped playing open rugby and gave us plenty of scares in the last quarter.”
“That said, our defence showed its usual resilience and restricted them to the one try.”
“And it was good to see two 18 year olds in Iestyn Rees and Llew Smith gain Premiership experience to continue our policy of blooding as much young talent as we can.”
“We have another extra busy week ahead with games at Cross Keys and Neath and will need another two victories to keep in touch with the top teams.”
The Drovers had a great start with wing Aaron Warren taking advantage of a weighted pass from fly half Jack Maynard to race through unchallenged, Maynard adding the conversion.
Centre Jamie Murphy kicked a penalty to make it 7-3 before Warren got his second converted try after quick inter passing from half a dozen players.
A penalty from fly half Ryan Evans reduced the leeway and Bridgend gradually started to get more possession to pose serious some problems to the home defence.
With the score 14-6 at the break, it took just six minutes to secure the winning bonus point.
A fine dummy from Maynard just got Rees racing in for a third Llandovery converted try and the bonus point was clinched when a flat Maynard pass was run in by flanker Duane Eager.
Bridgend reacted well with full back Jonny Phillips racing clear for a try, converted by Evans to make it 26-13 and Bridgend were right back in the game.
A yellow card for Llandovery flanker Stuart Worrall saw Llandovery under more pressure but they survived and held out in an exciting end.
*** Including the two games against Cross Keys on Tuesday and Neath on Saturday, Llandovery will have played 9 games in 35 days and team selection on who to play and who to rest will be crucial to the rest of the season’s fortunes.