Llandovery 14 Carmarthen Quins 35

What the Papers Say – Huw S Thomas reports
Copyright Huw S Thomas, and used by kind permission of Huw S Thomas

The Quins deservedly won the phoney war against their old Tywi valley rivals with a decisive five tries to two victory writes Huw S Thomas

But with both sides using over 30 players each at a sun baked Church Bank and missing key players, there was an unreal feel to the pre-season friendly.

The Quins had the upper hand for all but the first 20 minutes and their edge in physicality at both loose and tight took them home with relative ease.

With hardened forwards such as locks Haydn Pugh, and Lee Taylor, flankers Ed Siggery and the outstanding Richard Bloomfield in their line up, they had a decided edge in the contact area, their power getting them on the front foot for most of the game.

But both coaches – Euros Evans (Llandovery) and Craig Evans (Quins) – were well satisfied with the outcome.

“This was our third win in friendlies after beating Aberystwyth and Chinnor” said Carmarthen’s Evans “and it was a confidence booster for the squad but we know that the real thing starts in a fortnight’s time when the Premiership Cup kicks off.”

“We have another challenging friendly against Cardiff this Saturday and then we will launch into the season with a Cup trip to Bridgend.”

“After sluggishly conceding too many penalties early on, we tightened things up, improved our discipline and finished very strongly after at one time trailing 14-7”

“Fitness levels were good and it is always a plus to win a local derby at Llandovery whether in friendly, Cup or League!”

Euros Evans paid tribute to some of his youngsters, 19 year old No 8 Jordan Evans in particular putting in an eye catching first ever appearance in Drovers colours.

“A lot of the forwards will have learned a great deal playing against quality opposition but the Quins were strong in the contact area and we have no complaints on the day.”

“We will get better and fitter “swore the Llandovery coach “and will have to be against Aberavon in our last friendly on Saturday”

“Finally, a word for flanker Shaun Miles who made his 200th appearance for us in friendlies, Cup and League. He has and continues to offer great service to the Drovers.”

“We have Swansea at home on September 18 in the revamped Premiership Cup and, like the Quins, should have a full complement of players available.”

It was ironic that the star of the match on Saturday was Quins scrum half Rhodri Davies, a former Drover, freshly returned from a stint with England Championship side Cornish Pirates.

Quick, lithe and elusive he crossed for two tries and throughout looked the player of class that he undoubtedly is.

In the opening phases, Llandovery fly half Ryan Williams impressed with his slick distribution as well as kicking two wide out conversions of tries from prop Jamie Hughes and wing Aaron Warren.

Lock Oisian Davies had a big part in the build up to the Warren try and with his ball carrying shining bright, he looked as if he could be a live contender for a starting position come the start of the season proper.

Full back Geraint Llewellyn got a try back for the Quins, converted by centre Josh Batcup before a long pause in play for attention to injured Llandovery hooker Jamie Cox saw no action for 20 minutes.

There was good news in the evening that the former Loughborough Colleges hooker, now on the teaching staff at Llandovery College, was on the mend.

The break seemed to favour the Quins who upped their energy levels to add four converted tries from Rhodri Davies (2), hooker Torin Myhill and wing Gethin Gibby to pull away with some conviction.

Their great weapon was the driving maul from the line out which put the Drovers defence under huge and costly pressure, setting up a brace of tries for their well organised, surging approach work.

The Drovers had spells of attack but found the Quins defence uncompromising and all embracing in a very muscular performance.

Llandovery

Tries:J Hughes. A Warren

Cons: R Williams (2)

Quins

Tries: R Davies (2), G Llewellyn, T Myhill, G Gibby

Cons: J Batcup (5)

TEAM P W D L PF PA PTS
Cardiff 16 13 0 3 396 243 61
Carmarthen Quins 17 10 3 4 372 278 54
Aberavon 16 11 0 5 371 272 53
Llandovery 16 9 2 5 344 285 48
Pontypridd 18 10 0 8 394 376 47
Merthyr 18 8 0 10 362 374 44
RGC 1404 17 8 1 8 409 381 43
Newport 15 7 0 8 294 278 37
Swansea 17 7 0 10 246 292 35
Llanelli 15 6 0 9 293 412 27
Ebbw Vale 17 4 2 11 283 351 27
Bridgend Ravens 18 3 0 15 271 493 19