LLANDOVERY 20 CARMARTHEN QUINS 0
League positions suggested a comfortable home win but the Quins put in a huge defensive effort to stop the current league leaders from getting the bonus point try writes Huw S Thomas.
Llandovery have now lost just one game in the Premiership whereas the Quins have recorded just one victory but make no bones about it, the Quins made Llandovery work very, very hard to take the spoils in the West Wales derby.
In front of a bumper Christmas crowd, the Drovers will have been very disappointed with their performance, finding it difficult to penetrate the Quins defence.
They also made some horrendous errors in the latter stages when selfish options by a number of their talented backs cost them the full house of points.
Coach Euros Evans must have been pulling his hair out at some of the decisions behind the scrum.
With Ebbw Vale getting full bonus points against Merthyr to close the gap at the head of the table to four points, Llandovery might well rue their indecision come the end of the season.
As for the Quins, their gritty effort should set them up well for their next game against bottom of the table Neath.
Llandovery were made to be fully aware that, from now on, they have a lot of difficult away fixtures to negotiate post Christmas.
Powerful Merthyr, Cardiff, Pontypool and Newport all lie in wait and there will be no complacency in the Church Bank camp.
There are only four home games left out of the remaining 12 fixtures – against Pontypridd, Ebbw Vale, Bridgend and Swansea – so as clear a lead as the Drovers have at the moment, there is little guarantee it will be such at the end of April.
Despite oodles of possession in the first half the Drovers could only breach the Carmarthen defence on two occasions.
The first – following a short range line out – came from ex London Irish and current Scarlets lock Ed Scragg, the second from a fluent back move that saw wing Aaron Warren dive over wide out.
Fly half Ioan Hughes kicked one conversion to make it 12-0 at the break and this soon became 15-0 with an easy penalty after 45 minutes.
The Quins tackling was unrelenting in all areas and it took another close range try from hooker Taylor Davies to put Llandovery 20-0 up with a quarter of an hour to go.
A bonus point still looked on the cards only for unusually persistent self-serving play by a number of players combined with heroic Quins defence ended all scoring.
So, not a great day for the Drovers in general but the day was still special for two of the club’s front row forwards.
Dino Dallavalle ran out for his 100th appearance for Llandovery and was then joined from the bench by Llyr Green for his own century of caps.
** The Drovers travel to Merthyr this Saturday, knowing they will have to play better if they are to beat the Steelmen on their own all weather Wern patch
Tries:E Scragg, Aaron Warren, T Davies
Con: I Hughes
Pen: I Hughes
Llandovery: J Davies; H Doel, Adam Warren, R Jones, Aaron Warren; I Hughes L Rees; D Dallavalle, T Davies, B Watkins, J Powell, E Scragg, O Davies, N Hart, S Worrall
Replacements: J Hughes, R Guest, L Green, C Long, T Poole, E Lewis, J Maynard, D Land
Carmarthen Quins: J Wilson; D Ford, I Gwilliam, J Batcup, D Richards; C Titcombe, R Davies; S O’Connor, S Jones, I James, L Taylor, J Helps, T Phillips (capt), L Millin, T Curry
Replacements: W Caron-Lewis, L Margan A Evans-Fecci, G Davies, R Bean, A Hughes, L Randall, C Knott