DROVERS KEEP REMARKABLE RECORD AGAINST SWANSEA
SWANSEA 20 LLANDOVERY 30
This was Llandovery’s 22nd consecutive league and cup win over Swansea, a remarkable record that dates back to August 2010 when the All Whites won 37-16 at Church Bank writes Huw S Thomas
For Swansea the astounding 12 years of pain and hurt continued under the St Helen’s floodlights but they will be at least satisfied that they gave the Drovers a real scar this time.They trailed 15-0 at the interval to a brace of rumbling tries from Llandovery hooker Jamie Cox, a conversion by centre Kristian Jones and a snap drop goal from fly half James Garland.The lead could have been considerably greater as the Drovers pack – prop Dino Dallavalle, No8 Lloyd Pike, lock Osian davies and flanker Stuart Worrall outstanding – had the lion’s share of play.Home wing Curtis Davies was sin binned for a deliberate knock on and were it not for imprecision at vital moments allied to some last ditch defence from Swansea, the Drovers would have had a bonus point in the bag by half time.
But once flanker Griff Evans got a red card early in the second half the All Whites took momentary control, coming back to 15-13 in the 63rd minute only to eventually fail 25-20.Llandovery player/assistant coach James Garland, voted man of the match by TV commentator Matthew Jones, succinctly put his side’s current failings in context.“In our last four games – against Newport, Merthyr, Pontypridd and now Swansea – the same pattern has emerged” said the fly half.“We start of really well, dominate possession and territory, build up a lead in scoring some excellent tries but then lose momentum after the break and let the opposition back into the game.”Against Newport the Drovers led 17-3 at half time only to lose 27-17 whilst a 15-14 lead over Pontypridd ended in a 34-18 defeat.
The Drovers lead 33-12 at Merthyr and had to hang on grimly to edge home 43-37 whilst a seemingly comfortable 15-0 lead against Swansea was whittled away to a final 25-20.Garland was unsure of a solution but confident that the coaching team under Euros Evans will address the problem. “We will have to give it a lot of thought as we prepare for the quarter final match against Pontypridd on Saturday.”Yellow cards are part of the Llandovery problem certainly with flanker Griff Evans twice yellow carded on Thursday night, firstly for a dangerous tackle in the first half and then for a deliberate knock on after the break..That made for a red card and the awarding of a penalty try against the Drovers in the 43rd minute and from there on Swansea had much the better of play.
Referee Stephen Allsop – a late replacement for Dewi Phillips – kept dishing out penalties as Llandovery lost their composure to see their lead came down to 15-13 with 17 minutes to go.
Two penalties – one from former Drover and fly half Jamie Davies, the other by his replacement Liam Popham – had rang the alarm bells but the introduction of fresh blood in the front row with 10 minutes to go certainly helped the Llandovery rearguard in the tight.Veteran hooker Ricky Guest led the way up front and a very good penalty by centre Kristian Jones, followed by a try – made by Garland for replacement wing Ashley Evans – plus the conversion by Jones edged the Drovers ahead 25-13.Swansea No 8 Charlie Davies was yellow carded near the end but it was only fair on the losers that centre Hanno Dirksen got their bonus point when he sliced through under the posts for the last gasp try which he converted with the final kick of the game.
Tries: Pen try, H Dirksen
Con: H Dirksen
Pens: J Davies, L Popham
Tries: J Cox (2), A Evans
Cons: K Jones (2)
Pen goal: K Jones
Drop goal: J Garland
Swansea: G Rees; C Davies (C Lewis-Jenkins 41), H Dirksen, K Charles, L Morgan; J Davies (L Popham 67), C Tantum (B Ley 55); T Sloane, G Williams (O Thomas 61), J Pritchard, M Dodd, J Williams (capt), W Moxey (B Aspea 41), C Davies, C Bowden
Llandovery: W Thomas; T Lewis (A Evans 67), R Wall, K Jones, C Williams (A Warren 67); J Garland, D Smith; D Dallavalle (L Tobias 73), J Cox (R Guest 73), B Watkins (C Thomas 73), J Jones (capt), O Davies (M Dallavalle79), G Evans, L Pike (J Evans 73), S Worrall
Huw S Thomas Rugby World Schools Editor 4 Maes y Coleg Llandovery Carms SA20 0HS 01550 720028 07866 553920