What the Papers Say – Handel Davies reports
Llandovery followed up their fine mid-week success over their league leaders Rumney with their first away win of the season at Blackwood on Saturday.
On a wet unmarked pitch and with a continual drizzle throughout both teams found it difficult to play any expansive rugby.
The Blackwood pack took the game to the Drovers straight from the kick off. But apart from one rolling maul which ended on the tryline with the referee unable to award a score, the excellent defence of the visitors never allowed Blackwood the luxury of an early try.
Indeed, the confidence of the Drovers’ forwards visibly grew as the game went on and, with their solid scrummaging front row coupled with fine lineout ball from Colin Lewis and Stead, this allowed the back row of skipper Mark Lewis, No 8 Paul Jones and rising star Hughes to puncture the Blackwood ranks and draw in defenders.
It was from such play that both Llandovery tries were scored. The first, after 25 minutes, came from a powerful forward surge which enabled prop Andrew Jones to pick up the loose hall to dive over near the posts. The second came from a typically bullish move from No. 8 Jones who barged defenders to one side to claim his score. Stuart Hancox converted both and landed an excellent 50 metre penalty near the end to open up an unassailable lead, Blackwood's only scores coming from a Chris Lay penalty and a fine corner try by left wing Gavin Thomas.
The tactical kicking displays of scrum half Adrian Davies and his halfback partner Aled Williams were highly effective in repelling the Blackwood pressure.
The skill levels of the home three-quarters were never good enough in the conditions to enable them to capitalise on the forwards’ hard-won possession. Whenever they did manage to string a passing movement together it was consistently brought to an abrupt conclusion by the tackling of centres Tracy Lewis and Evans.
With another Gwent valley fixture next Saturday, at Newbridge, the Drovers will now look to build on the back of two fine victories, and the continuation of their current form should see them climbing up the league ladder.