What the Papers Say – Huw S Thomas reports Copyright Huw S Thomas, and used by kind permission of Huw S Thomas
The Drovers followed up their five point haul against Newport with a battling and very hard earned win over visitors Bargoed writes Huw S Thomas.
Llandovery had outplayed Bargoed 62-22 back in September in dry conditions but in this return fixture the Bulls gave as good as they got on the wet and blustery conditions to deny the Drovers a bonus point.
Their big, heavy and competitive pack revelled in the wind and rain and never let the Drovers have the quick ball on which their backs thrive.
The Llandovery eight were second best at the scrums, had inconsistent line out ball but competed well enough in the loose where the back row of Joe Powell, skipper Richard Brooks and Stuart Worrall were omnipresent.
To their credit the visitors defended with huge and aggressive gusto to keep Llandovery to just the two first half tries, scored by Scarlets hooker Marc Jones and young lock Morgan Jones.
Coach Euros Evans was happy enough with the result despite his side failing to get the bonus point that everyone had expected.
“The conditions made it a dog fight up front and Bargoed had a no nonsense game that stood them in good stead.”
“We did not have enough control up front to put our stamp on the game and we must be content with the four points on the filthiest of days.”
Early on Bargoed used two penalties to find good field position but nothing came from two line outs.
Fly half Jack Maynard missed a straightforward penalty chance but made no mistake minutes later from a similar position.
Opposite number Josh Prosser tied the scores with a 30 metre penalty after Llandovery had been driven back at a scrum.
Referee Richard Deacy then stamped his influence on the game by dishing out four yellow cards in 20 minutes – two to each side.
Bargoed hooker Rhys Buckley was the first to go – sent off for killing the ball at a ruck – and the Drovers took immediate advantage at a close range line out with a try by ex-Sale hooker Jones.
The visitors were then reduced to 13 men when captain and prop Rhys Morgan was dismissed after a scuffle amongst the forwards.
Bargoed continued to battle hard until a series of charges by the home eight ended with lock Morgan Jones twisting over under the posts, Maynard adding the extras for a 15-3 lead.
Llandovery then lost both lock Rhys Jones- team yellow – and replacement prop Berian Watkins – scrum offence – and a well judged kick from Prosser gave centre Jordan Howells the simple task of grounding the loose ball and make it just 15-8 at the interval.
A Maynard penalty soon made it 18-8 but even when the Drovers were back to 15 men, Prosser reduced the leeway with a good penalty.
A third Maynard penalty made the game safe for the hosts in a soporific second half and although Llandovery were camped in the Bargoed 22 for the last ten minutes, they could not breach a heroic defence in the ever worsening conditions.
Tries: Marc Jones,Morgan Jones
Con: J Maynard
Pens: J Maynard (3)
Try: J Howells
Pens: J Prosser (2)
Llandovery: G Thomas; M Williams, C Baldwin, R Evans, A Warren; J Maynard, L Rees; D Dellavalle, Marc Jones, L Green, Morgan Jones, R Jones, J Powell, R Brooks (capt), S Worrall
Replacements: B Watkins, J Hughes, J Evans, I rees, R Guest, S Miles, R Jones, S maynard
Bargoed:J Mogg; J Purcell, J Howells, B Nightingale, A Norton; J Prosser, J Leadbeater; R Morgan (capt), R Buckley, D Suter, L Blacker, B Morgan, B Fry, A Powell, G Rogers
Replacements: I Burgwin, C Jones, D Humphries, C Davies, W Langley, G Edmunds. K Bale, K Kavanagh