1996/1997 SWALEC Cup
Llandovery 22 v 8 Birchgrove
14 December 1996 - Church Bank, Llandovery

Match Report

Llandovery 22 – 8 Birchgrove

What the Papers Say – Huw S Thomas reports:

Little Birchgrove from Division Seven lost their 13-month old unbeaten record against the Division Two leaders but went down with guns blazing in a wonderfully competitive cup-tie.

Llandovery’s edge in speed and scrummaging power eventually got them home by a margin of victory which was thoroughly false.

Birchgrove player-coach Mark Sturgess had studied videos of past Llandovery performances and masterminded a plan of man-to-man marking on the three Llandovery dangermen, the back row of Mark Lewis, Paul Jones and Chris Davies. His own back row of Steve Phillips, Chris Powell and Neil Falvey clattered into the Llandovery trio whenever they touched the ball and, with the whole Birchgrove side relishing the physical confrontation, the Drovers lost their appetite for the contest.

Skull-capped No 8 Powell, the glint of battle in his eye, was a massive figure in the war for possession and apart from an early brief dominance the home eight came off distinctly second best in ruck and maul against the tigerish Swansea forwards.

When Birchgrove took an 8-7 lead after 45 minutes, thanks to a penalty by fly-half Rhys Harris to add to a first-half try by Powell, the chances of a huge upset were obvious.

Llandovery had got a 12th minute try through wing Arwel Rowlands, converted by fly half Darren Simpson, but had made little headway through a surfeit of back-row moves. It was their drive at a scrum which regained them the lead when Birchgrove lost their put-in and, in the scramble that followed, hooker Hywel James crashed over for a try converted by Simpson. A drop goal by full-back Emyr Lewis took Llandovery to 17-8 but then Harris failed with an easy penalty and dropped goal chance.

Llandovery eventually spread the ball and Rowlands swerved through for his second try with seven minutes left, only for Birchgrove to finish the game on the attack deep in Llandovery territory.

Team Sheets


Llandovery Birchgrove