2007/2008 Principality Premiership
Llandovery 10 v 3 Bridgend
29 March 2008 - Church Bank, Llandovery
Bridgend Ravens

Match Report

Llandovery 10 - 3 Bridgend

Huw S Thomas reports:

The Drovers took a very big step towards Premiership safety in deservedly beating Bridgend at Church Bank.

The hard-fought win in difficult conditions was made even better for home supporters with the news that fellow strugglers Maesteg had lost at Cross Keys. With the Drovers still having a game in hand over the Old Parish and now four points above them, the odds are on Llandovery survival.

The Drovers have three home games left against Swansea, Glamorgan Wanderers and Newport, three away at Aberavon, Glamorgan Wanderers and Llanelli. Maesteg face Bedwas, Glamorgan Wanderers, Cardiff and Aberavon at home and have just one away game at Pontypridd.

A wonderful second-half effort by the pack clinched a Llandovery victory that looked highly unlikely at the interval.

Despite playing into a very fierce wind, the Bridgend pack had monopolised possession in the first half and had done extremely well to keep the score down to 10-3. They restricted Llandovery to a close-range try from No 8 Gareth Bennett and five points from the boot of fly-half Gareth Morgan and had kept in touch with a penalty from skipper and full-back Gareth David.

Morgan had unusually missed two close range efforts and the smart money at the break was on a Bridgend victory. Few home supporters gave their side a ghost of a chance of victory but the doubting Thomas faction in the stand had to hang their heads in disbelief at the end of 80 minutes, such was the style of the comeback.

Coach Iestyn Thomas praised the commitment of his men. "We told them at half time that they had to keep the ball in the same way as Bridgend had done and that victory would be theirs! But the way they completely controlled the forward exchanges for 40 minutes was nothing short of heroic" smiled Thomas.

His words were echoed by club chairman Handel Davies who rated the second-half performance of the forwards "arguably the best seen at Church Bank for a decade".

The Llandovery pack - prompted by inspirational skipper and scrum-half Rob Walters - played the game of its life after the break, in shutting out the Ravens. Time and again the forwards drove upfield, expertly keeping the ball away from tacklers and defenders to deny the visitors possession.

On numerous occasions the forwards were within inches of a try as they stormed to the Bridgend goal-line and the Ravens would have had few complaints if they had lost more heavily.

The bulldozing Bennett and Emyr Phillips - is there a better hooker in the Premiership? - were quite magnificent but so were the other forwards in firkin-shaped props Endaf Howells and Andrew Jones, tireless locks Dafydd Jones and Steve Covington, plus foot-balling flankers Marc de Marigny and Gareth Williams.

With regular monotony they hit ruck and maul with a ferocity that shook Bridgend who simply could not get their hands on the ball.

And when Bridgend did occasionally manage to kick downfield, they found the covering of full-back Gareth James and on-loan Scarlets wing Darren Daniel nothing short of faultless.

Official : David Jones (Wales)

Team Sheets


Llandovery Bridgend