John Kendrick reports:
With one eye on the Konica Minolta Cup Final and the safety net of no relegation from the Principality Premiership Coach Iestyn Thomas made nine changes of personnel and three further positional changes from the side that inflicted the semi-final defeat on Llanelli.
The effect of these changes had an immediate effect as the home side opened the scoring with a try by flanker Jon Edwards within minutes of the kick off. Within 15 minutes Llanelli were 21 points to the good with further tries from full back Emyr Williams and flanker Rob McCusker. Rhys Priestland converted two of these and Emyr Williams the third.
The Drovers began to show more understanding of each others' play and it was Number 8 Gareth Bennett who opened their try count when, following a line out, the rolling maul was able to crash over the try line.
Still Llanelli could not be denied for long and their fourth try came from a well planned lineout move when scrum half Lee Williams raced through a gap in the forwards after a tap down by Dominic Day. On the half hour the home team went further ahead with their fifth try and a second for fullback Emyr Williams who took advantage of some poor tackling to cross near the posts. He converted his own try and established a commanding 33-5 scoreline.
The home side then suffered a big blow when the outstanding Rhys Priestland had to leave the field through injury and his place at fly half was taken by Craig Jones. Llanelli never looked the same team after this change and the Drovers missed a golden opportunity to close the gap when, following a great break by wing Viv Jenkins, the supporting Ioan Davies failed to hold onto the pass. With no defenders in front of him this was a certain 7 pointer and the score remained at 33-5 till half time.
Llandovery certainly made it more of a contest in the second half and were up to double figures when, following a 5m scrum, back row Eifion Gwynne picked up to record his side's second try. From the kick off the ball came to outside half Howard Thomas who chipped over the advancing Llanelli players, raced through, caught his own kick and within the blink of an eye had sprinted over untouched under the posts for a brilliant individual try which he converted.
At 33-17 there was a chance the Drovers could get back in the game but an unconverted try from hooker Craig Hawkins following a stolen lineout throw effectively ended the contest. Both sets of players seemed to sense this was really the end of the game and with Llandovery having to call for passive scrums through injuries to their props the game gradually fizzled out.