Huw S Thomas reports:
Pontypool’s recent good run came to an abrupt halt at Church Bank where they were soundly beaten by a rejuvenated Llandovery side.
After the dizzy heights of winning 45-29 at Swansea the week before, the ineffectual Pooler pack had their old coach Ray Prosser shaking his head in disbelief at the way the Drovers dominated the forward play. At scrum, line out and loose, Llandovery were in control from first to last to the delight of home supporters brought up with the hard uncompromising resilience of Drovers forwards of the last 20 years or so.
After the 37-0 win over Ebbw Vale last week, this was a vital win in for the hosts' recovery, said Team Manager Mark Vince. "We are off the bottom of the table, albeit on a better try count than the Quins and Cardiff (26 to 17 and 19 respectively) but there are still tall mountains to climb, not perhaps the Himalayas but certainly the Alps in our search for survival."
Coach Lyndon Lewis, in control because of the absence of coach Iestyn Thomas, who is holidaying in Malaysia, paid warm tribute to the work of the home pack. "Former Llandovery and Combined Services coach Geri Davies has done same valuable set piece work with the forwards in recent training and we put Pooler through the mill for most of the game, particularly at the scrum," said Lewis.
Boosted by the drive coming through from Vernon Cooper and Tom Walker, they spoiled Pooler ball almost at will and with the flankers Ceri Davies and Eifion Gwynne on the front foot, it was like the good old days at Church Bank, the pack rolling forward with vim and gusto.
Behind the scrum, there were good performances from both scrum halves, first Iwan Mainwaring and then Rob Walters, clattering runs from South African centre Jacobus Van Wyk and slashing breaks from wing Mark Bowen.
As soon as 7 minutes the writing was on the wall for Pooler when home captain Vernon Cooper, a Scarlets loan player, took clean line out ball, forward surged the pack and it was hooker Adam Yelland who got the touch down.
Flankers Ceri Davies and Eifion Gwynne were everywhere in the loose, and once wing Mark Bowen had sliced through the Pooler defence, it was not long before full back Ioan Davies dummied in for another try. Fly half Tomas Marks kicked the two conversions and then a penalty for a 17-0 home lead but Pooler did at least get on the score board just before the break.
Inh a rare incursion into the home half, a slide rule kick from fly half Sam Mills made a try for wing Nathan Daniels, converted from the touchline by Mills.
A strong Llandovery scrum created a try for the powerful Bowen and with 15 minutes to go, replacement scrum half Rob Walters cleverly probed the blind to send Van Wyk galloping jubilantly in for the fourth home try, converted by Marks.