Croeso cynnes iawn i pawb o Clwb Rygbi Aberavon i Banc Yr Eglwys heddi! It is with great pleasure that we welcome Aberavon RFC to Church Bank for the first time in the 2016/17 season.
Our last home fixture for the first XV was against RGC on the 11th of February so it is hardly surprising that it almost seems as if we are starting a new season! To confuse the traditionalists amongst us even more, on Monday RGC take on Pontypridd in the Final of the WRU National Cup, a fixture which would, in years gone by, have marked the end of the season! The change in the cup fixtures is one of the reasons why the Premiership league has been so disjointed over recent weeks and we are reliable informed by the WRU that the cup competition had to be completed early this year to accommodate the European Football finals at the Principality Stadium. Whilst as proud Welsh people I am sure we are pleased that such prestigious events are being drawn to our capital city it also shows that “money talks”. I somehow think that in the old amateur days the men with the blazers on the various WRU committees would have been resistant to any change in the season structure to accommodate football. I will leave you to judge whether the current arrangements are better!
Unfortunately after a great victory over RGC at Church Bank the Drovers’ Tier 2 season has been marked by a plethora of injuries that has impacted on the spine of the team and our coaches have had to call upon a number of young and developing players over recent fixtures. It has been disappointing for all concerned that we have suffered (by our standards) some big defeats away to Pontypridd, Merthyr and Bedwas and we go into today’s game with still more injuries! Aberavon finished the first half of the season at the top of the league and they will be determined to avenge their loss against the Drovers in the Cup way back in January. I am sure that both teams will be hoping for a dry day and some running rugby!
I cannot miss this opportunity to congratulate our Youth XV (who today also play at home – against Tycroes) on their valiant efforts recently against a large and powerful Treorchy XV in the National Youth Bowl Cup. They eventually went down 7-10 against a team littered with Welsh Youth squad members and if a couple of passes or pick ups had gone to hand it would certainly have been a different result. Treorchy went on to win the competition so hard luck boys, you represented the Drovers very well and I am sure as a young team you will have some success in the future. Incidentally I know the Youth lads were very pleased to see Euros and our home bred Scarlet players Emyr and Wyn watching the game at Ammanford and on their behalf I would like to thank them, and all the travelling support, for making the effort to be there. Meanwhile the seconds also continue to do well and we look forward to a cup final against Ferryside and perhaps more league success.
Our sponsors today are “a group of local farmers” whilst our match ball has been sponsored by Gina & Roger, thanks all!
It is with great sadness that we will precede today’s game by a minute’s silence in memory of a great Drover and one of Llandovery’s great characters – Rusty Jones who passed away recently after a long illness bravely fought. Rusty was a former Captain of our first XV but more importantly he was a very loyal Drover and he will be missed by many around the ground. We of course send our condolences to Hilda, Dylan and the entire family as we do to another Drovers family - the Adams’ - on the passing of Esther, Les’s widow and mother to David & Colin.
Er Gwaethaf Pawb a Phopeth Ni Yma o Hyd! Ymlaen Y Porthmyn!
Peter Rees Cadeirydd/Chairman