Huw S Thomas reports:
The Drovers took a further step towards securing a play-off spot after resisting a strong challenge from Bedwas. Their closest pursuers for the 8th spot are Carmarthen Quins who are 6 points behind but have three games left as opposed to Llandovery’s two.
In the last home game of the season, Llandovery had to dig deep to come back from a 16-9 deficit and snatch a win with a very late penalty from Mr Dependable, fly-half Cerith Rees. Rees broke the club record for points in the Premiership by scoring 14 points to reach 241 and overtake Tomos Marks’s record of 231 points set in 2005-6.
There was another milestone too when long-serving back Ioan Davies came on as replacement to flag up 100 Premiership appearances.
Coaches Rob Appleyard and Lyndon Lewis were honest enough to admit that Saturday’s game could have gone either way. “Perhaps we tried to play too much running rugby for our own good but that is the style we want to see at Church Bank. 61 tries in the league so far shows our determination to play a fluid game, despite conditions which make that sometimes difficult to achieve.”
Lewis, in turn, made an interesting point. “We would have lost this game last year but the side is now more experienced, more mature and more composed. They have more confidence and a belief in themselves, all of which augurs well for the future of the club.”
After an unattractive first half in which Rees outscored opposite number Gethin Worgan three penalties to two, things brightened up. Both sides were ready to run with the ball but it was Bedwas who got the next ten points even though their composure had been shaken with yellow cards for centre James Jones and wing Matt Pizey.
A try by replacement prop Dan Watchurst - after great running from full-back Stuart Thomas - and five points from the boot of Worgan shook Llandovery out of their complacency. The Llandovery forwards upped the tempo with hooker Emyr Phillips, flanker Nio Aiono, prop Craig Cross and lock Steve Martin – playing his best game of the season – catching the eye up front.
Rees dictated affairs behind the scrum and it was he who put centre Joe Ajuwa into a hole with a deft inside pass and the Nigerian held off all challengers to get near enough to the posts for Rees to convert.
Referee Perkins then made two huge decisions which were to cost Bedwas the game, punishing the visitors with another two yellow cards for offences in the contact area. Watchurst and Jones - for the second time - were off the field and the pressure finally told deep in injury time when the ex-Wales A fly-half delivered the coup de grâce with a 30 metre angled penalty.