Another good year for Drovers

THE last 12 months have been another very good year for the Drovers, writes Huw S Thomas.
They finished second to Merthyr in the highly competitive 2017-2018 Premiership, lost a tight WRU Cup semi final game to Newport and after a promising start look a fair bet to finish in the top 6 in the current 2018-2019 Premiership.
Under the astute guidance of Head Coach Euros Evans and his lieutenants Simon Davies and Gareth Potter, they were – and are – generally recognised at the most attack minded side in the semi-pro game.
They won 22 of their 29 Premiership games last season – 10 out of 14 in the pre-Xmas phase one and 12 out of 15 in phase two – and are currently in a handy position in the top half of the 018-2029 Premiership table They were nothing more than ambitious and adventurous in their style of play and had victories against clubs with a far higher profile and greater history than
Llandovery, clubs that played and at one time or another beat the touring Springboks, Wallabies and All Blacks.
There did the double over Bridgend, Swansea and Llanelli and had an outstanding 30-10 win over Pontypridd at Sardis Road –
generally recognised as the hardest ground in Wales to claim a victory.
The enjoyed an unbeaten home run of 19 Premiership games between April 2017 and October 2018 before RGC lowered their
colours on October 6 this year.
The new season under the captaincy of the influential No 8 Richard Brooks started with a bang as they reeled off four straight wins over Bargoed (away) Llanelli (home), Bedwas (away) and Cardiff (home) to top the table before suffering defeat at Aberavon.
Their form became a little patchy for a few months, victories over Neath, Swansea and Ebbw Vale outweighed by the defeats against RGC, Bridgend, Pontypridd, Merthyr and Cross Keys. The absence of both the captain and No 8 Richard Brooks and vice
captain and scrum half Lee Rees for some of the big games was certainly a factor although young scrum half Dafydd Land made huge progress over the months in his first year of Premiership rugby.
But Llandovery’s early season form returned with a terrific 43-10 win in early December over Newport who had beaten league leaders Merthyr at The Wern the week before.
In very wet and windy conditions Llandovery then beat Bargoed 21-11 to move into seventh position Rumours are flying about that
the top six might might next season be involved in a cross border competition with six new semi-pro sides from Scotland – Ayr, Stirling County, Watsonians, Melrose, Heriot’s FP and Boroughmuir.
This will make the fight for a top six spot the highlight of the remaining part of the season with at least nine clubs in with a chance of making the cut.
They have two big away games over the festive season when they face in-form Cardiff at the Arms Park and then travel for the local derby match against Carmarthen Quins, now coached by former Drover Emyr Phillips.

TEAM P W D L PF PA PTS
Merthyr 30 23 0 7 885 593 117
Cardiff 30 22 1 7 991 660 111
Pontypridd 30 22 0 8 1015 580 110
Llandovery 30 21 1 8 856 551 104
Ebbw Vale 30 20 1 9 762 594 95
Aberavon 30 18 2 10 698 603 90
Newport 30 17 2 11 759 700 88
Rygbi Gogledd Cymru 1404 30 14 1 15 852 650 85
Swansea 30 16 0 14 674 594 81
Carmarthen Quins 30 13 1 16 637 584 71
Bridgend Ravens 30 12 0 18 689 714 66
Llanelli 30 12 1 17 679 723 63
Bedwas 30 12 1 17 681 830 62
Cross Keys 30 5 1 24 586 1093 36
Bargoed 30 6 0 24 576 1003 35
Neath 30 1 0 29 406 1274 3