Huw S Thomas reports:
Llanelli took the sweetest of revenges for their Konica Minolta Cup defeat on December 3 when they pipped the Drovers by two points in a keenly fought but uninspiring game at Church Bank.
Llandovery were confident on the back of a four game unbeaten run against a side that had failed to win in December but the resolve and steely determination of the visitors' pack was enough to swing the game their way.
The Drovers were limited in ambition and paid the penalty of not fielding their strongest pack at the start. The pack that had comprehensively outplayed Carmarthen Quins on Boxing Day showed four changes and in the words of former Llandovery hooker Wyn Morgan "failed to produce the goods".
"You decimate the Quins up front one week and then change four key players - it does not make any sense," said Morgan. "We could rue this result come the end of the season."
Coaches Lyndon Lewis and Roy James, in charge during the absence of Iestyn Thomas, defended their selection. "We have full confidence in our squad and there is never a best and second best team, such is the competition for places in at least half a dozen positions," said James.
"It was a shame not to end December unbeaten but there is nothing at all between the sides as the cup and league results show - it is all on the day."
Llandovery were nowhere near as dynamic up front as they had shown in recent games and they were limited in ambition, content to set up field positions to score from penalties and drop goals.
Fly-half Tomas Marks kicked five penalties but hit the post with another and missed two drop goal attempts whilst centre Gareth Morgan missed with a penalty and three drop goal attempts.
Llanelli were never behind in the game, leading 9-6 at half-time after fly-half Ceiron Thomas had out kicked Marks 3-2 in penalties but were lucky to have the interval lead on both territory and possession counts.
It was nip and tuck for long periods thereafter and Marks brought the scores to 9-9 with his third penalty but Llanelli were far the more dangerous behind and should have scored only for centre Gavin Evans to lose the ball in the act of scoring.
Llanelli's best patch of the game came midway through the second half when Thomas added his fourth penalty and patient build ups got them the one try of the game.
Prop Ian Jones was prominent with some angled runs and the home defence finally crumbled when wing Richard Davies twisted his way over from an overlap on the right.
Llandovery were not done with, and with skipper lock Arwel Davies and flanker Eifion Gwynne leading from the front, two penalties from Marks set up a tense final eight minutes of play.
At the death, the home pack set up a promising attacking position only for Morgan to put his drop-goal effort under the crossbar from 35 metres.