Llandovery finish top of the league

Llandovery 62 Bridgend 13

Llandovery made history on Thursday night when they finished top of the Premiership for the first time in the 20 year history of the competition writes Huw S Thomas.

Coach Euros Evans made eight changes – two positional – from the side that beat Swansea 54-21 the week before and although Bridgend put up a spirited defence, they could not match the pace and intensity of the home play under the indefatigable leadership of lock Jack Jones.

Backs and forwards combined seamlessly – linked by brilliant scrum half Lee Rees – to fashion nine tries in front of the S4C cameras

The Drovers finished their regular season of 24 games, one point ahead of Newport – 105 to 104 – after recording 22 wins and just two defeats over a period of eight months..

An adventurous and ambitious approach was rewarded with a season’s tally of 117 tries – nearly five a game – whilst the defence was the meanest in the league, conceding the lowest total of just 51.

They now go through to the Premiership play offs with a home tie in the semi final against fourth placed Cardiff  on May 4 whilst second placed Newport have home advantage over Ebbw Vale.

The final is set for May 11, with Llandovery guaranteed a home draw – if they beat Cardiff.

“To finish top of the Premiership to add to winning the National Cup is a fitting reward for all the hard work that the squad has put in – not just this season but over the last few years” said coach Euros Evans

“To be Premiership champions after the play offs will take some doing when you consider the strength of the opposition we will face.”

“It’s exciting for the whole club and community and I just hope we will do them proud, win or lose.”

Urged on by the mellifluous tones of the Llandovery Male Voice Choir, the Drovers put on a thrilling show of handling, passing and support that often left poor Bridgend clutching at shadows.

The home pack – from 1 to 8 – produced the quality ball that the back division thrives on and with Rees and partner Ioan Hughes orchestrating moves, there was only going to be one ever winner.

Centre Adam Warren was faultless in distribution and decision making, Harri Doel oozed class on one wing whilst on the other Macs Page confirmed his place as one of Wales’s rising stars with a breathtaking solo try, full of electric speed and good balance.

After Bridgend fly half Jamin Hodgkins had opened the scoring with a 4th minute penalty, his side had to wait another hour for their next score.

Two close range tries from hooker Taylor Davies – to bring his Premiership tally to an astounding 18 – and others from centre Rhodri Jones and Page plus a penalty and three conversions from ultra reliable full back Jack Maynard made it 27-3 at the break.

A breathless burst of three converted tries in six minutes after the break from Warren, Rees  and Doel announced wholesale changes to the Llandovery squad and replacement scrum half Dafydd Land was soon on the scoreboard at the end of yet another sweeping attack.

With replacement fly half Luke Price influential, brave Bridgend got two tries back from hooker and skipper Evan Yardley and full back Ed Howley.

The last word was inevitably Llandovery’s with Doel leaving defenders in his wake to bring up the 60 points and leave Maynard to kick another excellent conversion for a personal tally of 17 points.


Tries: T Davies (2), L Rees (2), H Doel (2), R Jones, M Page, Adam Warren

Cons: J Maynard (7)

Pen: J Maynard


Try: E Yardley, E Howley

Pen: J Hodgkins

Llandovery:J Maynard; M Page, Adam Warren, R Jones, H Doel; I Hughes, L Rees ; J Hughes, T Davies,  L Green, J Jones (capt), E Scragg, O Davies, J Powell, S Worrall

Replacements: J Morse, H Thomas, B Watkins, C Long, J Evans, I Phillips, S Potter, D Land


Bridgend: E Howley; C Nott J Gatt, I Griffith, C Ellis; J Hodgkins, C Tantum; P Price, E Yardley, L Tobias, B Thomas, J Pope, A Llewellyn, K Harris, D Davies

Replacements: C Greenslade, C Leyshon, T Richardson, J Clarke, S Davies, C Smith, L Price, S Floyd-Ellis