A mixture of wonderful Tondu defence and poor Llandovery decision-making gave the visitors the narrowest of victories at a wet and windy Church Bank.
There was little to choose in the first period between evenly-matched sides. But the crucial score came on the stroke of half-time when Tredegar referee Reg Hughes awarded a controversial penalty try against Llandovery. Home scrum-half Adrian Davies was adjudged to have prevented prop Kevin Sadd from taking a quick tap penalty five metres out, and Justin Lott’s conversion gave Tondu an 18-10 interval lead that proved decisive.
Wing Alan Brown had scored a fifth-minute try after a fine break by fly-half Austin Howells, and Lott kicked two penalties. Llandovery’s response was a try by No 8 Chris Davies and a conversion and penalty from fly-half Peter Lloyd.
The lead hardly looked good enough when centre Tracy Lewis crossed for a converted try only two minutes into the second half. With the Drovers’ pack monopolising possession in scrum, line-out and loose, it looked only a matter of time before they took the lead. For 10 minutes they were encamped in the Tondu 22. They refused kicks at goal, opting for a long series of scrums and line-outs in an effort to force a try. But the Tondu back row of Paul Morgan, Nathan Strong and Graham Thomas tackled heavily around the fringes and, with centre Richard Dyke a midfield rock, Llandovery could not find a way through.
They were also too blinkered to realise the potential of their danger man, Mark Jones. The left wing was a forlorn and uninvolved figure, and repeated attempts to bash through the middle met the stoutest of tackling.
With time running out, Lloyd finally had two kicking opportunities but both went adrift and Tondu deservedly held on in a tense finale.