What the Papers Say – Huw S Thomas reports
Copyright Huw S Thomas, and used by kind permission of Huw S Thomas
The clash between Premiership top and bottom went predictably the way of the Drovers who reeled off their fourth consecutive win of the season writes Huw S Thomas.
It was a surprisingly error ridden and tactically inept Llandovery that finally clinched he bonus point win but they made heavy weather of beating a combative albeit limited Llanelli
“I can’t pretend that we played well” said Drovers coach Euros Evans “but we got five points out of it against a side that defended heroically with huge resolve.”
“It was a local derby after all and Llanelli often disrupted our rhythm but we know that we will have to lift our game in the face of some difficult fixtures in the next few weeks.”
“That said, we were pleased to see some of our younger players getting invaluable experience which will prepare them for the rumble – tumble of the Premiership”
“We can’t be unhappy at the top of the table but there’s a long tough season ahead.”
These are grim times for the famous Llanelli club who remain without a win or even a bonus point after four games.
But Llanelli forwards coach and a former Llandovery captain in Lloyd Phillips was far from despondent at the result.
“The score might not show it but this was a significant improvement on recent performances.”
“We matched them in the contact area and tackled like demons and it was only at the death that my old club clinched their bonus point.”
“A lot of very raw players are learning their trade in the heat of battle and to compete with a side as good as the Drovers was encouraging.”
“We tired at the end and shipped two tries to make the scoreline a little harsh after so much courageous commitment.”
“We will improve – have no doubt of that” concluded Phillips
Conditions under foot were slippery but the Drovers were soon ahead when an ambitious pass from centre Rhodri Jones – making his 150th appearance for the club – gave wing Richard Williams the chance to swerve through the Llanelli defence, fly half Jack Maynard converting.
Llanelli got back into the game and put some pressure on the home defence but the next chance of a try came to the Drovers only for Jones to be bundled into touch feet from the line.
Two handling errors on the wet conditions cost Llandovery a score but the away defence was generally dogged and very determined under hard working No 8 and captain Nathan Hart.
It was just 7-0 at the break and try as they might, the Drovers continued to find it hard to make the decisive break through.
It eventually came when the impressive Jones was again prominent in the move that set wing Aaron Warren arrowing through wide out, Maynard kicking an excellent conversion.
Llanelli continued to compete with some gusto but had little to offer in attack and home handling errors kept the score down.
A great cover tackle by wing Liam Smith on Llandovery flanker Shaun Miles saved a certain try but full back Gavin Thomas got a third Llandovery try in the 74 th minute.
The Drovers strove hard for the bonus point but a combination of poor home handling and gritty Llanelli defence kept the score at 19-0 until the very last minute when referee Nigel Owens awarded a penalty try at a retreating Llanelli scrum.
Tries – R Williams, A Warren, G Thomas, pen try; cons – J Maynard (2)
Llandovery: G Thomas; R Williams, R Evans, R Jones, A Warren; J Maynard, D Land; D Dallavalle, R Guest, L Green, J Jones, J Baker, J Powell, R Brooks (capt), S Miles
Replacements used : D Thomas, M Moore, B Watkins, G David, J Evans, H Dew, K Jones, L Rees
Llanelli: T Rogers; L Hutchins, J Roberts, B Atkins, L Smith, A Sutton, G George; C Williams, C Jenkins, R Bassett, E Rees, A Hyndman, J Jones, N Hart, E Thomas
Replacements used: R Cherry, D Lawley, A Thomas, L Pike, J Robbins, J Lewis, L Randell, J Davies