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 23 18 0 5 651 393 91
Cardiff 23 18 1 4 696 469 89
Pontypridd 21 16 0 5 730 374 79
Llandovery 24 16 1 7 652 408 79
Newport 25 15 2 8 629 551 77
Ebbw Vale 24 16 1 7 541 423 76
Aberavon 22 14 2 6 485 415 69
Swansea 24 13 0 11 537 451 65
Rygbi Gogledd Cymru 1404 22 11 1 10 552 456 64
Carmarthen Quins 24 10 1 13 488 454 56
Bedwas 24 8 1 15 515 667 43
Bridgend Ravens 22 8 0 14 427 517 43
Llanelli 24 6 1 17 450 620 35
Cross Keys 22 5 1 16 452 681 34
Bargoed 23 4 0 19 400 756 22
Neath 23 1 0 22 335 905 3