TYWI VALLEY DERBY KICKS OF THE INDIGO PREMIERSHIP SEASON
By Huw S Thomas
What better start to the new Premiership season than this Saturday’s Tywi Valley clash between the Quins and Drovers at The Park? writes Huw S Thomas
This is a fixture that fans of both teams relish like no other game of the season and the result could go either way if last season’s final league positions are of any worth.
The Drovers finished on 31 points from 11 games but only just a point ahead of the county town side so the Quins league finish of what looks a disappointing eighth has little relevance.
Both won six of their games and lost five, the difference being the one extra bonus point notched up by the Drovers.
Llandovery did, however , beat the Quins three times in Cup and League winning 21-10 and 38-12 at The Park, 16-0 at Church Bank.
Up the Tywi Valley, the Llandovery coaching team is virtually the same, former Dragons flanker Nic Cudd the one eye catching addition.
Head coach Euros Evans was very pleased with his side’s 26-12 over another National One side Cinderford in what was the team’s final pre-season friendly after a win over Nant Conwy and narrow defeat by Pontypool.
Lock Jack Jones will continue to lead a side in which he will have outstanding support from prop Jamie Hughes, and back rowers Joe Powell and Stuart Worrall.
Two Ammanford boys in twins Dino and Marco Dallavalle will also be sure to make regular appearances.
“We were very good in the first half against Cinderford but trailed off a little after the break.” said ex-hooker Euros Evans.
“If we can get things together for all 80 minutes we will be hopeful of more than holding our own against most teams.”
“We will approach the Quins game with our usual caution because we know that there is little to choose between us and them”
“Last season’s results are always poor yardsticks and it’s always been hard to get a win at The Park”
“I expect no difference this Saturday”
“We have made some excellent signings, the most significant the return to Church Bank of Dragons and Wales centre Adam Warren who has taken up a position at Llandovery College.”
“I know Adam well from his days at Coleg Sir Gar and his tactical acumen and keen rugby brain will rub off on everyone.”
“Carmarthen boy and utility back Jack Maynard and prop Llyr Green also return to their old stamping game from Cardiff whilst fly half Ioan Hughes has moved to us from Llanelli.”
Scarlets hooker Marc Jones has joined the Carmarthen coaching team and his vast experience with Sale Sharks and Bristol Bears will stiffen the strength of a set of forwards already a formidable force with the likes of hooker Torin Myhill, lock Haydn Pugh, back rowers Ed Siggery and Richard Bloomfield.
In a new coaching set up after the departure of last year’s coach Craig Evans, Jones will be assisted by Welsh international Josh Turnbull, backs coach Nic Reynolds and forwards coach Rhys Lawrence.
Long serving team manager Steff Thomas was optimistic of a good season
“We are lucky to have kept the nucleus of our squad and have added some local talent with youngsters fly half Luke Davies, centre Harrison Griffiths and scrum half Luca Setaro, all players who will prove good additions.”
“We are well satisfied with our pre-season preparations, playing three fixtures beating Llanelli Wanderers, Chinnor and losing away to Cambridge only in the last 20 minute period” added Thomas.
“The 33-14 loss at Cambidge can be excused by a long, difficult bus journey and a slightly under strength side.”
“It’s going to be ultra competitive this year, starting straight away with the visit of Llandovery but for us it’s about looking after our own performances and seeing what rewards that can brings us.”
Both sides will be determined to get off with a win and the bonus for fans will be the presence of the Premiership’s top two scrum halves in Rhodri Davies and Lee Rees with Davies out to prove a big point against his former Llandovery colleagues.
A big crowd is expected for the local derby (KO 2 30 pm) and a humdinger of game is expected to herald in a new and ultra competitive Premiership season.