Llandovery 21 – 8 Aberavon
What the Papers say: Tom Hughes reports:
The Drovers took revenge for their narrow defeat at Aberavon back in September with this well deserved win over the Wizards.
It was a confidence booster for Llandovery after their loss to Neath the week before and this eighth win in 12 games keeps them in third place in the West table behind RGC and Carmarthen Quins.
With all their top players back, the side’s performance was vastly superior to the one at the Gnoll and promises a strong finish to the West conference programme.
They have two games remaining – away to Swansea this Saturday (KO 12 30 pm) and then home to the Quins on December 23 for a right royal local Christmas derby.
Team Manager Andrew Jones acknowledged the tightness of the game.
“We never have anything other than tough, physical battles against Aberavon and this one was no different,” said Jones who made 577 appearances for his home town club over a period of 24 years. “We let a few chances slip in the second half when we had the wind behind us but we are pleased to get a result against one of the most difficult sides to beat in the entire Premiership.”
“Our defence remains tight and to concede just eight points and only one try is testament to the battling nature of the players. Everyone talks of our attacking flair but the statistics will tell you that we have conceded just 167 points in 12 games; the Quins have the next best defence in all the Premiership in conceding 220 points.”
The Wizards were led from the centre by former Drover James Garland but it was the man in Garland’s normal position – fly half Steffan Williams - that opened the scoring with a penalty.
Llandovery came inches close to a try when wing Lee Williams was adjudged to have put his foot in touch in the act of scoring before fly half Jack Maynard drew the scores level with a close range penalty.
A Maynard drop goal took the Drovers into a 6-3 interval lead and although Aberavon had plenty of possession after the break, they could not create enough to worry the Drovers under hard working captain and No 8 Richard Brooks.
Home lock Joe Powell - one of the two outstanding forwards on the field alongside back row Duane Eager - made a break that all but fashioned a try before Maynard dropped his second goal.
The Drovers pack finally broke the deadlock with a close range surge which brought prop Scott Jenkins a try and a 14-3 lead.
Aberavon responded with a similar effort credited to prop Rhys Forse but their hopes of a losing bonus point were dashed when Llandovery replacement Dafydd Pritchard - on loan from Ammanford - cut in under the posts to make the conversion a formality.