Unbeaten at the Bridge Field since October ‘99, Bedwas surrendered their home record to a rampant Drovers team who dominated the match until the 75th minute. At that point the score stood at 5-39 but amidst a late flurry of replacements the visitors relaxed and allowed Bedwas to run in three tries from Simon Jones, John Welsh and Richard James. All three were converted by fly half Gavin Sammuels to give the final score a more respectable look but one that in no way reflected the true course of the game.
As they saw their unbeaten record slipping away the Gwent side lost their discipline and with two players, centre Harrison and captain Mark Lewis, yellow carded they gave Llandovery’s prolific goalkicker Stuart Harries the opportunity to convert 6 penalties in his personal tally of 24 points. Three of these kicks were monstrous affairs from 40m or more, the longest from well inside his own half. As a result of this game Llandovery rise above Bedwas into 7th place in Division 1.
The foundation of the Drovers’ victory was based on a superb display by their forwards. The front row of captain and prop Andrew Jones, hooker Andrew Jones and Dorian Williams were at the forefront of the contest, and with Lyndon Bateman outstanding in the lines out an excellent supply of possession from set pieces was assured. In the loose Matthew Monaghan and the back row of Wayne Beynon, Aled and Chris Davies were dominant and Bedwas were never able to break the territorial stranglehold they placed on the game.
The one criticism that could be levelled at the Drovers was their occasional carelessness in handling and wrong decisions amongst the backs, which resulted in Bedwas scoring four tries to the victors’ three; scant reward for all their territorial domination.
Three early penalties from Stuart Harries were answered by a try for Bedwas scrum half Wayne Bray, when in the 20th minute a trademark try from Tracy Lewis put Llandovery further ahead. The big centre crashed through from the 22m line, leaving five would be tacklers scattered in his wake. Stuart Harries converted the try and then kicked a further two penalties to bring the halftime score to 5-22.
The second half saw a further Harries penalty and two tries from scrum half Jamie Roberts, right back to his very best form. The first try was scored when he followed up a kick ahead from wing loan Davies to dive over close to the posts, but the second was a fine individual effort following a set scrum 30m out. The Drovers won a clean, quick strike and Roberts, breaking from the base with electrifying speed, outpaced the close defenders, swerved round the fullback and touched down under the posts. Both tries were converted by Harries, to bring the score to 5-39.
The late rally by Bedwas to score a further 21 points was to be commended for a side who never gave up but in the end the Llandovery victory was never seriously in doubt.
Next week the Drovers travel for a second time this season to the Cardiff side Rumney. Having suffered a heavy defeat in the league they will be hoping for a much better display this time and an elongated run in the WRU Cup.