What the Papers Say – Huw S Thomas reports
Copyright Huw S Thomas, and used by kind permission of Huw S Thomas

In the clash between second placed Pontypridd and third placed Llandovery at Sardis Road it was the home side that edged through in the closest of games writes Huw S Thomas.

It was a game that Llandovery should have won given the number of times that they prised open the Ponty defence.

But a combination of poor finishing , crucial defensive errors and a wonderful match winning tackle by Ponty wing Alex Webber on fly half Jack Maynard saw the game slip out of their hands.

“It was a game we lost rather than Ponty won “ said Chairman Peter Rees.

“”We cut their defence regularly but there were two vital moments in the game that proved our downfall. It was a game that got away from us”

The first instance was ten minutes into the second half when Llandovery had just gone ahead 13-10 following a well crafted try by lock Joe Powell and Maynard conversion.

Ponty looked visibly shocked at losing the lead but when the Drovers backs lost possession in ambitiously running from deep, Webber took advantage of poor covering to get to the rolling ball first.

After Maynard and opposite number Lewis Williams had swapped penalties, there came a key moment in the closely balanced game with under 10 minutes left.

Maynard intercepted a Ponty pass on his own 22 and sprinted clear with three quarters of the pitch to cover.

It looked odds on that the fly half would make it only for the chasing Webber to slowly overhaul him with five metres to go for the perfect example of a try saving covering tackle.

Even then the Drovers looked favourites to score only for the support to lack the killer instinct and let Ponty scramble the ball away.

Chances came and went on both sides but the sound of the final whistle was relief to Ponty who were more than happy to pinch the result at the end of the most free-flowing of entertaining games.

The Drovers were fast out of the blocks to take a fifth minute lead through a Maynard penalty before a catch and drive line out saw Ponty hooker Huw Dowden get the touchdown in a mass of bodies.

Williams converted, Maynard then replied before a Williams penalty made it 10-6 in the home side’s favour at half time.

Lock Powell’s converted try was no more than the Drovers deserved with their adventurous approach to the game.

With Maynard, centres Ryan Evans and Rhodri Jones, wing Aaron Warren and full back Gavin Thomas causing all kinds of alarm in the home defence the tide looked to have turned in Llandovery’s favour.

Then came the aberration to let in Webber for his try but the forwards battled away under lock jack Jones to keep their backs well fed.

Maynard missed a very difficult penalty to take what would have been a 19-18 before out and out sprinter Webber overhauled Maynard to save the day for Ponty.

The Drovers had to be content with a losing bonus point and such is the tightness of the competition at the top end of the table that they slip to sixth in the table after Cardiff, Newport and Aberavon gained decisive wins.

*** Things will not get any easier for Llandovery this Friday, the eve of the Wales v South Africa game, when they travel to take on league leaders Merthyr at The Wern

Cardiff 16 13 0 3 396 243 61
Carmarthen Quins 17 10 3 4 372 278 54
Aberavon 16 11 0 5 371 272 53
Llandovery 16 9 2 5 344 285 48
Pontypridd 18 10 0 8 394 376 47
Merthyr 18 8 0 10 362 374 44
RGC 1404 17 8 1 8 409 381 43
Newport 15 7 0 8 294 278 37
Swansea 17 7 0 10 246 292 35
Llanelli 15 6 0 9 293 412 27
Ebbw Vale 17 4 2 11 283 351 27
Bridgend Ravens 18 3 0 15 271 493 19