2012/2013 Principality Premiership
Llandovery 33 v 7 Neath
20 April 2013 - Church Bank, Llandovery

Match Preview

Chairman Handel Davies previews Neath game

Chairman Handel Davies previews Saturday’s home league game v Neath

Croeso cynnes iawn i ein ymwelwyr heddiw sef Clwb Rygbi Castell Nedd. Today we extend a warm welcome to the All Blacks of Neath RFC who arrive fresh from their cup semi final success against Aberavon last Saturday which means they will now face Pontypridd in the final at the Millennium Stadium on May 4th. (At the time of writing these notes they are also due to play Llanelli at the Gnoll midweek on 17th April).

Congratulations to the Drovers on gaining a hard fought but thoroughly well deserved victory at the Riverside Brewery Field last weekend by overcoming a well organised and improving Bridgend team full of young ‘Ospreylians’ by 10 points to 5. As is usually the case, the miserable conditions of constant rain and wind helped to spoil any fluidity of play with the game being very much a stop-start affair which did little to enthuse the sparse crowd. Nevertheless the win enabled the Drovers to leapfrog Cross Keys into 4th spot in the table and with 3 games left - akin to a racehorse on a well timed run – sees the red and whites nicely poised to come off the rails for a grandstand finish for one of the 2 remaining play off places (Ponty are already ensured the top slot) that are up for grabs in competition with Bedwas and Llanelli.

A win today is therefore absolutely vital to maintain the challenge and with games against Aberavon at home next Tuesday evening (kick off 7.15pm) and Bedwas away on 27th April 2013 it is certainly not beyond the realms of possibility (depending upon how other results pan out) that Llandovery could yet qualify in either 3rd or perhaps even 2nd spot? Faithful supporters will be keeping their fingers crossed that yet another unique page of history may yet be turned in the next ten days or so.

Last week’s game saw Rob Walters come off the bench to make his 300th appearance for Llandovery RFC which is a fantastic achievement and a great milestone to reach in what will be his 12th and final season at Church Bank. Rob has been a fantastic servant and is a role model for younger players to aspire to follow in terms of the way he conducts himself on and off the pitch and for his dedication to training and keeping fit. I remember his father Joc telling me all those years ago that he knew of a good young up and coming scrum half worth having a look at – who also happened to be his son – so we did, and the rest as they say is history! Da iawn yn wir Rob!

Today THE Club stalwart player Andrew ‘Cantona’ (or should it be ‘Giggs’) Jones, will, subject to his entering the field of play, be making his 500th appearance for the 1st team! This is a remarkable and truly outstanding achievement for a front row tight head prop forward over the 21 years since he made his debut as a fresh faced 18 year old out of Youth! As he has already received several career ending plaudits - having in recent years previously announced his impending ‘retirement’ (almost as many times as Phil the Beast has threatened to resign!) - it is appropriate that I make mention that he currently has no plans to retire at the end of this season! Well done Andrew – I can see Bryn smiling, chuffed to bits with your achievements on the field! By the way 500 games qualifies you to join the Board of Directors – there is a space ready for you to fill?

Congratulations from all Drovers fans go to Kieran Murphy who on Scrum V last Sunday was voted the Principality Premiership Player of the Month for March 2013! This makes Kieran the 4th Drover to win this accolade THIS SEASON with Rhodri Williams (September), Shaun Miles (October) and Matthew Jacobs (January) being the other 3 – surely a record for players from the same Club to have won 4 out of the 7 monthly nominations – and with April still to come!

Last week saw the Athletic record a fine 27-0 win away at foggy Bonymaen and the Youth record a solid 15-0 win at home against the young Builth Bulls. (Had Bridgend not scored a try 5 minutes from the end of the game the 1st team would have also recorded a 0 which would have been quite a feat, to have registered three victories with nil points against). Well done and good luck to both teams in their respective upcoming cup semi finals and with the 1st team also due to play Cwmllynfell in the Brains SA Cup Final (date TBC) it augers well potentially for some end of season silverware for our senior teams!

Today sees our Club Cook and Stewardess John and Jacky Cook wave a fond farewell after two years at Church Bank. Having arrived here via Brecon from the north of England in 2011, they are now understandably returning to Yorkshire to be closer to their family. They both settled in very well considering it was their first experience of managing a rugby club and will be missed (especially John’s Steak and Chips – the finest I have ever tasted!). We wish both all the very best for the future!

I would like to thank today’s three match sponsors who are Andy Powell’s parents, Gethin & Gail of Brecon Recycling Centre, Club Accountants Ashmole & Co, and Paul Rees from Molson Coors Brewers, together with our three matchball sponsors, Dave Gilbert, Steve Drake and Huw Clarke. Your support is invaluable and we sincerely hope you enjoy your day at The Home of the Drovers!

Finally I would like to welcome each and every one of our Patrons for our annual end of season pre match Patron’s Lunch and also our former players association who will today be attending the 2nd organised reunion since the inception of Yr Hen Borthmyn at the start of the current season.

We will also be joined by a representative from the British Heart Foundation to acknowledge the Club’s purchase and acquisition of a defibrillator unit, apparently the very first rugby club in Wales to do so. In view of the increasing pressures upon the service - the ambulance response time for Llandovery is apparently amongst the worst in Wales - it therefore appears to be a timely acquisition! I hope you all have a happy and thoroughly memorable day and on behalf of the Llandovery RFC Board of Directors may I thank you one and all for your support during the season!

Ymlaen Y Porthmyn! Er Gwaethaf Pawb a Phopeth Ni Yma o Hyd!