John Kendrick reports:
Llandovery gave a good account of themselves in a highly entertaining contest against second placed Pontypridd at Sardis Road where the teams ended with three tries apiece. The difference between the sides came down to Pontypridd’s Dai Flanagan, aided by Rhondda Referee Mr Gary Davies whom Paul John the Pontypridd coach described as “a homer” whilst the Drovers coach Iestyn Thomas’s comments were unprintable. The outside half finished with 21 points to his credit, from 4 penalties, 3 conversions and a drop goal.
The game was only five minutes old when Flanagan struck the first of his penalties but this was soon replied to by a try from the Drovers. A series of rolling mauls took the ball to the Pontypridd line where flanker Eifion Gwynne was credited with the touchdown. Tomas Marks converted and the visitors led by 7-3.
A second Flanagan penalty reduced the lead to 1 point but he missed the opportunity to put the home side back into the lead when a stream of penalties forced the Drovers back into their own half.
Try scoring flanker Gwynne was then harshly shown the yellow card for offside at a ruck and Flanagan put the home side back into the lead when Llandovery were further penalised 10m for talking back to the referee. With two further Flanagan penalties and two from the Drovers' Tomas Marks the sides reached half time with a slender 13 – 12 lead for the visitors.
Within a minute of the restart it was an opportunity for Flanagan to show his skills in open play. The outside half put in the perfect cross kick, straight into the arms of flying wing Darren Berry who crossed in the corner. Flanagan converted and Pontypridd established a lead they were to hold till the end of the game.
Marks pulled the lead back with a penalty but when the ref failed to spot a knock on by ex-Carmarthen Quins scrum half Wayne Evans Pontypridd were able to force a lineout close to the Drovers line. From there hooker Leighton Davies burst over for Flanagan to slot the conversion, and then soon after add a drop goal to his account.
An unconverted try from Llandovery’s Gareth Morgan was answered by a Flanagan converted second try for Darren Berry before, in the final minutes, Gareth Morgan got his second try. Marks converted and the final whistle blew with the Drovers disappointed to lose but taking some satisfaction from running a top team close and adding three tries to their account when, in the final tallying up for relegation, the try count could be vital.