Llandovery duly won their 17th league match of the season at Broadacre on Saturday but made hard work of beating a limited, albeit very brave Dunvant side. The win took the Drovers up to 51 points, to seventh place in Division One, and very much in with a chance of finishing in the top six.
Full back Stuart Harries looks set to establish a scoring record that will be very hard to beat, his 22 points from six penalties and two conversions giving him 360 league points with five matches to go.
Dunvant played with plenty of spirit and resolve but yet another defeat, this time at the hands of their old West Wales rivals, takes them even nearer to relegation. For three quarters of the game Dunvant gave as good as they got and with just 20 minutes to go actually led 24-21. “Full marks to Dunvant,” said Drovers coach lestyn Thomas, “They breached us near ruck and maul and if we had not pulled ourselves together at half time and considerably upped our work rate, we could have gone down.”
Llandovery lock Lyndon Bateman opened the scoring with a try converted by ex Dunvant full back Harries, but the Drovers were penalised for over ambition and confidence when wing Anthony Rees replied with a try, converted from the touchline by fly half Paul Sparrow. Harries kicked a penalty only for the evergreen Paul Morris not only to be involved in the build up to some driving forward play but to be at hand to put Dunvant 12-10 up.
A close range catch and drive by the visiting pack saw flanker Wayne Beynon claim a second Drovers try before fortune smiled on the home side. Referee Alpin had already awarded a try to Llandovery lock Dai Giles after the home eight had lost the ball at a scrum, only to strangely reverse his decision on the judgement of the touch judge for a scrummage offence. This seemed to give Dunvant a huge boost and from 18-12 down at the interval they took the lead when a lovely scything run by skipper Warren Lloyd sent No 8 Phil Middleton charging over, Sparrow converting.
Harries replied with a penalty but yet again Dunvant showed their character when ground work from Middleton allowed Lloyd to give the accelerating Richard Rees a superb flat pass for a try and a 24-21 lead.
Another Harries penalty tied the score and with Dunvant legs now tiring badly, on loan Neath prop Paul Jones ran hard to create space for fly half Neil Clapham to fling a long pass to wing loan Davies, who went over unopposed.
With the yellow carding of Middleton for a high tackle on replacement flanker Wil Price, the game was all but up for Dunvant and the Drovers were in complete control in the last 10 minutes. With Roberts pulling the strings, Llandovery strolled clear with two penalties by Harries and the conversion of a Jones try - for a personal tally of 22 points - to put a convincing if perhaps flattering slant on the score.