Llandovery were red hot favourites to win the Boxing Day derby against Carmarthen Quins and they did not let their supporters down writes Huw S Thomas. Photo by Derek Jones.
The Quins were still recovering from their heaviest ever Premiership defeat – 82-0 – at the hands of league leaders Cardiff when their defence conceded 12 unanswered tries.
Their tackling was far tighter in the face of Llandovery attacks but – brave as it was – not good enough to avoid yet another league defeat.
The Quins have now lost 10 of their 11 Premiership games, in stark contrast to the Drovers who racked up their eighth win in nine games to lie in third place in the table.
After winning 19-3 at Carmarthen in September, it made it a league double for Llandovery and confirmed their status as the region’s leading Premiership side.
The score does not reflect the competiveness of an encounter which saw Llandovery score three tries in the opening 12 minutes only for the Quins to more than hold their own up front thereafter.
There was a sombre minute of silence before kick off to remember three Llandovery stalwarts who passed away over the Christmas period.
Life members Neville Morgan and Joe Richards along with former lock Noel Page contributed hugely to the fortunes of the club on and off the field of play.
Also included in the minute’s silence was Graham Rees, father of Drovers scrum half Lee Rees who unfailingly supported his son wherever he played.
In front of a bumper holiday crowd, it took a minute for the Drovers to score when swift handling got wing Kian Abraham in for a try converted by full back Jack Maynard.
Maynard soon added a penalty for a 10-0 lead before Quins full back Kalum Evans was yellow carded for a deliberate knock on.
More slick passing ripped the Quins defence apart for centre Adam Warren to slide over out wide.
It was one way traffic at this stage and co-centre Rhodri Jones had a free passage to the posts, Maynard adding the extras with just 12 minutes gone.
The Quins got little reward from some close range line outs and although Llandovery hooker Dafydd Hughes was sin binned for stopping a quick tap penalty, the visitors profited little.
With a half time lead of 22-0 the Drovers were ready to up the tempo but it was the Quins that had the better of play, their forwards – No 8 Lewys Millen outstanding – standing toe to toe with the home pack in tight and loose.
Llandovery were miles short of their usual sparkle and it was fortunate for them that there was no one in the Quins back line capable of making a clean break.
The bonus point home try looked as if it would not come in the face of good Quins covering but after a series of close range scrums two minutes from time, combative lock and skipper Jack Jones crashed through for the vital try, converted by fly half Ioan Hughes.
Tries: K Abraham, Adam Warren, R Jones, J Jones
Cons: J Maynard (2), I Hughes.
Pen: J Maynard
Llandovery: J Maynard; H Doel, Adam Warren, R Jones, K Abraham; I Hughes, L Rees; D Dallavalle, D Hughes, L Green, J Jones (capt), J Powell, G Evans, J Evans, S Worrall
Replacements: J Hughes, B Watkins, C Thomas, M Dallavalle, O Davies, L Smith, K Jones, D Land
Carmarthen Quins: K Evans; D Richards, R Davies, J Batcup , D Waters; J Wilson, A Hughes; I James, T Myhill, B Leung, R Bean, J Helps, L Taylor (capt), L Millin, G Davies
Replacements: S Phillips, L Morgan, A Williams, C Salmon, S Jones, L Setaro, S Marshall, H Griffiths