What the Papers Say – Huw S Thomas reports
Copyright Huw S Thomas, and used by kind permission of Huw S Thomas
The Drovers deservedly took the spoils in this their first league game of the season, beating the North Walians in a tense game at Church Bank writes Huw S Thomas.
Two hugely positive sides entertained a shirt sleeved crowd to a flowing game of rugby which had more than its fair share of thrills and spills and it was not until late on that the Drovers secured victory.
Coach Euros Evans was delighted to get off the mark.
“Ever since RGC climbed into the Premiership, games between the two clubs have invariably tight and this was no exception” said Evans.
“RGC had beaten champions Merthyr at the opening week end of the season when we had no game so this is a splendid start for us.”
“And to get a bonus point rounded off a very good day,”
As outstanding as the team performance was, special mention must be made of skipper and scrum half Lee Rees and flanker Stuart Worrall.
Rees scored two first half tries thanks to his scorching pace whilst Worrall tackled and grafted for the whole game as well as making two crucial turnovers when RGC threatened to score.
Two others to be flagged up by coach Evans were young replacement props Callum Williams and Llyr Green whose introduction off the bench produced renewed bite at the scrum in a close finish.
One surging scrum led to Jack Maynard kicking a vital late goal and make the win safe.
The Drovers included Scarlets hooker Dafydd Hughes, a local boy and former Llandovery College captain, but most of his early work was in defence as RGC put a lot of close range pressure on the home team.
But it was Llandovery who took a 12th minute lead when scrum half Lee Rees profited from good approach work from both of his centres Rhodri Jones and Ryan Evans to sprint in from 50 metres,
Fly half Jack Maynard hit a touchline conversion before opposite number Billy McBryde hit the deficit to 7-3 with an angled penalty.
The Drovers got their second try when a sweeping move led to Evans lobbing an inside pass to the close supporting Jack Jones and the lock galloped home from 20 metres.
Both sides made it an entertaining affair in perfect conditions and were ready to take risks so it was blow for Llandovery to lose creative centre Jones to a shoulder injury.
McBryde kicked his second penalty on the half hour before the mercurial Rees side stepped brilliantly through for a third home try – and his second – Maynard converting for a deserved 19-6 interval lead.
It took RGC just three minutes of the second half to get their first try when a fine run out of defence by wing Rhys Tudor ended with McBryde side stepping through under the posts, the fly half himself adding the points.
Maynard missed a 30 metre penalty in a contest that was getting tighter by the minute but it was the resilient Drovers who got the bonus point when slick support passing ended with Italian prop Dino Dallavalle powering through, Maynard converting.
RGC would not lie down and after two five metre scrums they worked in skipper Tom Hughes for the try, converted by McBryde.
With six points between the teams, it was all to play for in the final and often frantic minutes under the calm direction of referee Craig Jones.
And the game came to an end with the cool Maynard popping over a 30 metre penalty to take away a losing bonus point from the very disappointed North Walians.
Tries: L Rees (2), J Jones, D Dallavalle
Cons: J Maynard (3)
Pen: J Maynard
Tries: B McBryde, T Hughes
Cons: B McBryde (2)
Pens: B McBryde (2)
Llandovery: K Jones; G Thomas; R Jones (C Evans 27), R Evans, A Warren; J Maynard, L Rees (capt); D Dallavalle (C Williams 69), D Hughes (A Rees 46), B Watkins (L Green 53), R Jones, J Jones (T Evans 71), J Powell, E Price (O Davies 52), S Worrall
RGC: S Rogers; A Bagshaw, T Hughes (capt), R Williams, R Tudor (H Evans 50); B McBryde, E Jones (O Lennon 88); J Simpson (J Williams 67), G Roberts (R King 88), J Scott (P Jones 88), B Jones (S Williams 67), R Williams, A Williams, J Jones (E Roberts 78), W Bryan