What the Papers Say – Handel Davies reports
Llandovery seem to have found some of their old magic after coming away with a 20-29 win against Tondu.
The Drovers fielded an unfamiliar back line which included scrum half Jamie Roberts on the left wing after the late withdrawal of prolific try scorer Mark Jones, and Ioan Davies, a product of the junior Drovers nursery, playing on the right wing.
It was the visitors who immediately asserted their influence on proceedings through the dominance of their pack. The front row trio of Arwel Evans, hooker Hywel James and Matthew Monaghan exerted pressure in the scrums whilst veteran lock John Westgarth and Kiwi Daniel Stead ruled the line outs.
During the opening salvo Llandovery could and should have scored three or four tries, but the final pass or wrong option meant that these opportunities went begging. However the first try was scored after twenty minutes when powerful young centre Paul Davies cleverly cut back inside his opposite number to score an excellent try near the posts which Aled Williams duly converted.
Against the run of play Tondu responded with a try of their own when winger Daniel Fofana sprinted over in the corner following a midfield burst by Tondu’s star player, openside flanker Karl Hocking.
Tondu took the lead briefly after halftime when fly-half Austin Howells kicked a single penalty but when replacement flanker Gareth Thomas was sin binned for a late tackle Llandovery were able to take full advantage of their opponents being a man short.
The tireless efforts of the back row combination of stalwart Chris Davies, No. 8 Chris Hughes and flanker Gareth Thomas meant that the overlaps created by the scything runs of centre Tracy Lewis were carried forward in a continuity of play which resulted in a try blitz which saw the Drovers go into an unassailable lead. Flanker Davies and then Lewis both scored tries which were deserving of their determined efforts throughout the game. Aled Williams converted two and added a penalty to pull Llandovery 29 points to ten clear.
Unfortunately instead of gaining a bonus point or two, as seemed possible, Llandovery did not sustain their efforts during the final quarter. This allowed Tondu to retain a faint glimmer of hope when Hocking powered his way over for two tries to reduce the deficit and gain his team a valuable bonus point by scoring three times in total and finishing within ten points of the victors.
Nevertheless it was Llandovery who were worthy winners on the day and they can look forward to the remaining three games with confidence.