Sep 3 2022 Carmarthen Quins v Llandovery
DROVERS WIN LOCAL DERBY TO KICK START THE PREMIERSHIP SEASON
The local derby which heralded in the new Indigo Premiership season went the way of the Drovers in a turgid encounter with their Tywi Valley rivals writes Huw S Thomas
Llandovery had made some important signings in the summer and one of them – full back Jack Maynard – proved the match winner in kicking four penalties and a conversion.
Winning coach Euros Evans was frustrated at the way his charges found it difficult to break down the home defence.
“We lacked our usual fluency but we have new combinations behind the scrum and the Quins defence closed down our space with some fierce tackling.” said Evans, now in his eighth year as Head Coach of the East Carmarthenshire side.
“But we take four points more than happily after any local derby against the Quins at The Park.”
“Life will not be any easier on Saturday when Pontypridd come to Church Bank but at least we have notched a win on the road to get the season off to a good start.”
Sadly, such was the staccato, stop start nature of action that spectators were forced to watch some forgettable 100 minutes of play.
It was not the occasion that wing Aaron Warren would have wanted, too, as he made his 200th appearance for Llandovery in this his 11th year with the Drovers.
Ultra consistent, reliable and a great finisher, he had little ball to improve on his 494 points and 92 tries since making his debut as a 18 year old against Newport in November 2011
The Drovers pack under lock and skipper Jack Jones enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and brothers prop Dino and No 8 Marco Dallavalle made some good carries but even with their two key newcomers in fly half Ioan Hughes and centre Adam Warren, the back division could find no way through a resolute Quins defence under flanker and skipper Lee Taylor.
Even bobby dazzling scrum half Lee Rees was kept quiet by the Quins back row of Taylor, Lewis Millyn and Tom Curry.
Llandovery flattered to deceive as movements broke down under the weight of home tackling and all the first half could cough up in points were two penalties from Maynard and one from home fly half Steffan Marshall, one of several former Drovers in the home squad.
Rain from the west swept in soon after the break which made handling difficult and the introduction of a new Llandovery “bomb squad” front row of Jamie Hughes, Ricky Guest and Llyr Green changed the complexion of the game.
The strength of the Quins pack over the years has been at scrum and line out so even a lethargic crowd was woken from its slumber when Llandovery forced penalty after penalty in a display of powerful scrimmaging.
Maynard kicked two penalties out of four attempts for a 12-3 lead and although the Quins had a rare opportunity to fashion one of their famous catch and drive close range line outs, they were repelled.
That signalled the end of any hope of a home recovery and with the Drovers gaining ground with a more pragmatic kicking game, the decisive score came some 10 minutes from time.
The Quins pack bravely defended a five metre line out and even forced a turnover but from the resultant scrum they were forced off their own ball.
Forward surged the visiting eight and replacement flanker Lloyd Pike was the first to touch down for the game’s one and only try.
Maynard converted for a personal tally of 14 points to celebrate his return to Llandovery colours after his short but unsatisfactory year at Cardiff.
Pen: S Marshall
Try: L Pike
Con: J Maynard
Pens: J Maynard (4)
Carmarthen Quins: L Randell; D Ford, R Davies, J Batcup, M Griffiths; S Marshall, R Davies; O Evans, S Jones, C Allen, R Bean, H Pugh. L Taylor, L Millyn, T Curry
Replacements:B Edwards, S Phillips, B Leung, J Locke, L Reynolds, A Hemmings, L Davies, D Richards
Llandovery: J Maynard; R Wall, Adam Warren, R Jones, Aaron Warren; I Hughes, L Rees; D Dallavalle, C Thomas, B Watkins, J Jones (capt), J Powell, O Davies, M Dallavalle, S Worrall
Replacements: J Hughes, R Guest, L Green, L Pike, J Evans, D Land, K Jones, K Abraham