Llandovery travelled to ‘Fortress Wern’ on Saturday knowing that nothing less than maximum points from their remaining two fixtures was required in order to give them any chance of maintaining their Division One status.
The desire for victory was evident from the start as the forwards drove deep into the Merthyr 22 and Matthew Monaghan bulldozed his way over for an excellent try in the very first minute. Peter Lloyd converted.
From the restart the pattern of play was replicated. Adrian Davies at scrum half was an outstanding tactician, varying his play intelligently. Despite their pressure, the only further scoring the visitors could muster came in the form of two Peter Lloyd penalties. Then, on the stroke of half time, the outside half threw a sublime dummy 30 metres out and sprinted through the gap for a crucial score under the posts which he converted himself.
Playing with the slope in the second period former Llandovery Captain Mark Lewis, now skipper for the Ironmen, knew that an early score was required if his men were to enjoy any sort of comeback. But Llandovery showed the same spirit and commitment in defence as they had shown previously in attack, flanker-cum-centre Gareth ‘Billy’ Thomas being the best example with his superb tackling and ball winning ability.
The home team did score a fine try through left wing Kevin Owen which was excellently converted from the touch-line by fly half Stuart Davies. Thereafter it was all one way traffic. The visitors’ front row trio of skipper Andrew Jones, hooker Hywel James and youngster Dorian Williams enhanced their reputation as the best front row in the division and pounded their scrum opponents into submission. Veteran second row Nigel Clarke won a constant supply of front line-out balls and his partner Matthew Monaghan was always to the fore through his charging runs.
Another veteran, Chris Davies, making an end of season comeback, was again evident as the "lead hound" and was well supported by his fellow back-row men Aled Davies and Dafydd Jones. Dual registered Geraint John, having played a part the night before in Neath’s demolition of Bridgend, continued his momentum through scoring two long distance tries. Sandwiched in between was a try by enterprising full back Ioan Davies who rounded off a fine performance with a well deserved try. Lloyd, although suffering from a broken nose courtesy of an accidental elbow, successfully converted all three tries to round off a superb performance.
The visiting support from Llandovery easily outnumbered the Merthyr following and their loyalty was rewarded with one of the best away performances for several seasons. Coaches Geraint and Kevin Williams were both happy men at the end, the fruits of their labour in training in recent weeks being reflected in this performance.