Llandovery were not in action over the weekend in the 13 team Indigo Premiership but Ebbw Vale’s defeat of Newport means that the Drovers stay top of the league writes Huw S Thomas
Newport who trailed the Drovers by four points – 35 to 39 – had a chance of going top with a bonus point win over the Steelmen but went down 28-20 at the Newport Stadium.
The Black and Ambers loss means that they still trail Llandovery by four points with Pontypool – 24-12 winners over Neath – and Ebbw Vale a further point behind.
It sets up an intriguing contest at Church Bank this Saturday when Newport will be the visitors and desperate to close the gap on the Carmarthenshire side.
Even at this early stage of the season, it looks as if the current top four could well finish the season in the same position and so qualify for the four team play off in April.
Merthyr who beat Carmarthen Quins 22-18 with a late try and Cardiff – 22-12 winners at Swansea – are still in touch, although 10 and 12 points respectively behind the fourth team, Ebbw Vale.
A home win on Saturday will put the Drovers in a commanding position as we approach the half way mark to the season but Newport have always caused Llandovery a lot of problems over the years.
The last time they met on May 6 was an exciting affair at Rodney Parade with the Black and Ambers winning 52-33.
The Drovers led 33-31 with a quarter of an hour to go before yellow cards for flanker Lloyd Pike and wing Aaron Warren weakened the defence so much that Newport pulled away with three late tries to give the score-line a false look.
Llandovery’s last home game against Pontypool on November 11 attracted a very big crowd and with another Gwent side expected to bring plenty of travelling support to Church Bank, another absorbing day’s rugby is in prospect.