Huw S Thomas reports:
Llandovery lost their tenth consecutive game of the season when they went down to fellow Premiership strugglers Maesteg at Llynfi Road.
The Drovers have not won a league game since beating Saturday’s winners 41-33 in the first game of the season at Church Bank and there was extreme disappointment at this recent loss, a loss that anchors them to the bottom of the table.
Llandovery led 20-13 at the break and 27-13 one minute after the break but blew up so badly in the last quarter that Maesteg were well deserved winners at the end.
Director of Rugby Jeremy Evans summed up the general mood in the Llandovery dressing room. “Everyone is devastated as we thought we had the game in the bag when we got our third try to go 14 points clear” said Evans “ but a combination of weakness at the scrum, injuries and some excellent Maesteg play were the cause of our demise. We have to put the defeat behind us, prepare hard this week and hope that we can put it all together for the visit of Bridgend on Friday night."
The most disappointing thing for the Drovers was their fallibility at the scrum, traditionally an area of great strength over the years. The front five of Dorian Williams, Adam Yelland and Andrew Jones, Tom Walker and Vernon Cooper looked on paper a formidable combination but were back pedalling at an alarming rate in the last quarter.
With no worthwhile possession the game went right away from the Drovers as the Old Parish scored 23 unanswered points in the second half.
It had all been so different in the first half when two really well worked tries, scored by flanker Matthew Jeffries and new South African centre Jacobus Van Wyk plus 10 points from the boot of fly half Tomas Marks had put Llandovery in command.
A smooth line out where Tom Walker and skipper Arwel Davies took quality ball had trumped a Maesteg try from lock Gavin Ronan and eight kicked points from fly half James Dixon,
It got even better from the restart when wing Ifan Evans slipped tacklers, the ball sped over to the right where Owain Rowlands ran hard up the touch line to send supporting full back Howard Thomas in near enough to the posts for Marks to convert.
From there on it turned into a horror show for Llandovery. Possession was untidy, turnovers frequent, kicking for position weak and wayward, defensive clearances even worse as the Maesteg pack, roused into action by No 8 and captain Karl Hocking, took control.
Veteran scrum half Kevin Ellis used all the increasing possession swiftly and cleverly, taking tap penalties to put the Drovers into defensive disarray and, with Dixon in grand kicking form, Maesteg took the game by the scruff of the neck.
A try by Wareham plus conversion and two penalties by Dixon edged Maesteg ahead 29-27 and when Jeffries was yellow carded for killing the ball, Maesteg got a scrum shove to claim a penalty try, converted by Dixon for a personal tally of 21 points.