What the Papers Say - Huw S Thomas reports
Copyright Huw S Thomas, and used by kind permission of Huw S Thomas
Llandovery moved effortlessly into the last eight of the Welsh National Cup with this decisive six tries to nil win over the Sospans from Llanelli. They outplayed the fourteen times former winners and on this form they go into this week’s quarter final draw with a good chance of making it three Cup triumphs after the memorable wins of 2007 and 2016.
Neither side was at full strength because of the contentious clash of Welsh Cup and Anglo-Welsh Cup fixtures but the Drovers were always in control and ran out easy winners.
There were stand-out performances from any number of Drovers with the back row of Duane Eager, skipper and No 8 Richard Brooks and Shaun Miles in tremendous form in the loose. Lock Bryn Griffiths confirmed his great experience in the contact area along with hooker Ricky Guest and there was a confident and composed display from scrum half Scott Maynard, elder brother of absent fly half Jack Maynard.
But it was the line out that separated the two teams by a very wide margin.
Llandovery coach Simon Davies - standing in for Euros Evans who was away with the Scarlets LV Cup side in London against Harlequins – was warm in praise of his hard working pack under skipper Brooks
“Everyone associates us with a free flowing style of play but we had to adapt to the unusually heavy conditions at Church Bank,” said Davies. “We love nothing more than to throw the ball about but we had to be pragmatic against Llanelli.”
“We had worked hard on the driving line out in training and no fewer than half of our tries were down to good attacking cohesion in that area. Our defence was obviously outstanding in denying Llanelli a single try and - all in all - this six tries to nil win will give hope of a good Cup run.”
Llanelli took an early lead when fly half Ioan Hughes kicked a penalty but the Drovers were soon on the attack with smart handling putting centre Ryan Evans in, fly half Kristian Jones converting.
Hughes missed a penalty but was successful with a point blank range effort at the end of the first quarter.
A close range line out made a try for Llandovery hooker Guest only for Llanelli to crawl back to within three points through another Hughes kick.
The Drovers dealt a real blow just before half time when flanker Eager finished off a break by Maynard, the try converted by Jones for a 19-9 interval lead.
The Sospans pack got enough ball but their lightweight ball carriers could make little headway in the heavy conditions against an all embracing defence.
Llandovery were always the more fluent but were also outstanding in their close range line play, both flanker Miles and lock Joe Powell crashing over, Jones converting the first try.
Replacement fly half Josh Hammett then made a good break to put in wing Aaron Warren for another converted try and seal a third win of the season against Llanelli.