Former Premier Division side Cross Keys were well beaten by a Llandovery XV whose pack took firm control after the break to run out far clearer winners than the score suggests.
The Drovers put in an outstanding second half performance to completely outplay a team that struggled to come to terms with the physicality and cohesion of the home eight in which veteran No. 8 Chris Davies was in great form. The Cross Keys pack committed the fatal mistake of trying to out muscle a powerful Llandovery unit whose scrum and lineout w as rock solid and their strength in the close exchanges hugely impressive.
Keys opened in positive fashion for fly half Gethin Worgan to kick penalties and over anxiety cost the Keys at least two tries, but home centre Tracy Lewis knocked the stuffing out of the visitors ten minutes before the break. The high stepping Lewis brushed tacklers like autumn leaves as he ploughed up the middle and although Keys managed to contain the movement, in which Chris Davies was the key link, the ball went across the field in the other direction. Hooker Jones swivelled through desperate tackles to feed who other than Lewis and the centre swerved in and out of yet more tacklers to cross for one of the best tries seen at Church Bank for some time. Full back Stuart Harries added the conversion and with his earlier penalty it meant that the Drovers went into the break ahead.
It was all Llandovery thereafter as the pack turned the screw The front row of Dorian Williams, Andrew R Jones and the captain Andrew B Jones gave their opposite numbers a gruelling time at the scrums whilst at the line out Lyndon Bateman and Matthew Monaghan had one of their most fruitful days of the year.
The immaculate Harries confidently kicked a further two penalties to one by Worgan before Llandovery turned ever better possession into points. Right wing Rhodri Gomer Davis appeared out of the blue to burst onto a pass from omnipresent hooker Jones to cut the Keys line to ribbons.
The third Drovers try of the afternoon reflected their dominance of the tight when Keys lost the ball at a scrum and a quick pass from veteran No. 8 Davies, one of the great servants of the Towy Valley Club, sent Roberts, back to his best at the base of the scrum, haring over without a hand laid on him. Harries thumped two conversions high between the posts to round off a faultless display of place kicking for a personal tally of 18 points.
To the Keys’ credit, they kept at it and with replacement scrum half James Pizey always in the thick of things, the visitors took advantage of very careless Drovers’ defence. Very late tries came from wing Gareth Davies and lock Paul Watkins, both converted by Worgan. The final score-line certainly flattered the men of Gwent and they were brave enough to admit it.