The Drovers boosted their hopes of claiming a top four spot and qualification for the play offs with the narrowest of wins in a 49 point thriller at Parc Eirias, Colwyn Bay writes Huw S Thomas
They had outplayed RGC 36-12 back in October but this time had to hang on for dear life in the latter stages as the North Walians went hell bent for victory to keep alive their own hopes of reaching the play offs.
Llandovery retain second place in the Premiership in a win described by coach Euros Evans as “vital for play off prospects”
The blustery wind made this a game of two halves with the Drovers building a 15-3 interval lead only to lose the second half 21-10 and finally scrape home by a single point
They had an excellent start when leading scorer and full back Jack Maynard kicked a penalty in the very first minute.
Although RGC had plenty of possession, it was the visitors who went further ahead when sweeping attacks ended with No 8 Osian Davies crossing.
The Drovers got into good attacking positions a number of times but a wobbly line out – the Achilles heel of the side – surrendered valuable possession.
Centre Adam Warren (pictured) did finish off another sharp move to get a try, converted by full back Maynard before a penalty by home fly half Sam Rogers made it 15-3 at the break.
Would the lead be enough was the question on Llandovery minds, knowing that the North Walians would come back strongly with the elements in their favour.
Against perceived expectation, fly half Ioan Hughes went in under the posts for a third Llandovery try – improved upon by Maynard – before home wing Rhys Tudor nearly scored from a clever chip and chase effort.
From there on, the game became a rearguard action for the Drovers as RGC strove to close the gap.
Skipper and wing Afon Bagshaw brought RGC hope with a well-worked converted try, only for a Maynard penalty to make it 25-10.
A better line out helped Llandovery’s defensive cause with lock Joe Powell claiming vital front ball to help keep the opposition at bay
The North Walians kept moving the ball at pace and their adventure was rewarded in style as the game reached its final stages.
The score suddenly became 25-24 when – in the space of three minutes – influential replacement scrum half Efan Jones slipped over from a driving maul and then cleverly set up replacement back Harri Evans
Both tries were converted, the first by replacement Morgan Bagshaw, the second by full back Sam Earl-Jones to set up a tense final few minutes..
Llandovery – with forwards Stuart Worrall and Joe Powell to the fore – managed to survive a whole series of frenetic RGC attacks and, in the process, considerably strengthened their hopes of a top four finish.
*** The next Premiership game is against league leaders Cardiff at Church Bank on Thursday March 2 (KO 7 30 pm)
Star man: Joe Powell (Llandovery)
Tries: A Bagshaw, E Jones, H Evans
Cons: S Rogers, M Bagshaw, S Earl-Jones
Pen: S Rogers
Tries: O Davies, Adam Warren, I Hughes
Cons: J Maynard (2)
Pens: J Maynard (2)
RGC: S Earl-Jones; R Tudor, D Cross, Delwyn Jones, A Bagshaw (capt): S Rogers, O Wynn; P Jones; J Williams, R King, P Jones, B Jones, I Evans, S Williams (capt), J Jones, D Owen
Reps: J Liney, C Hone, P Nelson, B McQueeney, H Roberts, E Jones, M Bagshaw, H Evans
Llandovery: J Maynard; H Doel, Adam Warren, R Jones, Aaron Warren; I Hughes, L Rees (capt); D Dallavalle, C Thomas, B Watkins, G Evans, J Powell, L Pike, O Davies, S Worrall
Reps: R Guest, J Hughes, L Green, M Dallavalle, J Evans, I Thomas, K Jones, D land