Faced with the problem of having three centres unavailable through injury the Drovers selectors after much deliberation asked open side wing forward Wayne Beynon to fill the gap and form a new combination with the one centre still available, Tal Selley. The choice proved to be an inspired one as the new pairing grabbed four of the Drovers’ five tries and also snuffed out any attacks by The Keys through midfield.
Coaching organiser Geraint Williams was full of praise for the much-improved Llandovery defence, but was equally delighted with the way the team took their own chances to score. He paid respect to the home side for the part they played in an exciting and well-contested game.
The West Wales side opened the scoring after ten minutes when, following a ruck, a swift pass from scrum half Rob Walters gave his halfback partner Neil Clapham some room to move and the outside half jinked his way through the defence to score a fine individual try under the posts. Stuart Harries converted and then kicked a penalty while the Keys’ Gethin Worgan replied with three of his own to take the score to 10-9 in favour of Llandovery.
The Drovers went further ahead when the forwards recycled the ball through a number of rocks to finally release after the defenders had been drawn in for centre Wayne Beynon to cruise home under the posts. Harries converted.
The home side now began to come more into the game with flanker Ben Watkins outstanding in the lines out although Llandovery’s Tom Walker proved to be his equal. They were to rewarded when, following a line out near the visitors’ line, they drove the maul over the line for second row Derek Freemantle to be awarded the touchdown. Gethin Worgan converted with an excellent kick from the touchline and then kicked a further penalty to put the Keys into the lead for the first time in the game. In doing so he took his season’s tally over the 100-point mark.
With the halftime score standing at 19-17 the game seemed poised for an evenly matched second half contest and it was the Drovers who scored soon after the break to regain the lead. Outside half Neil Clapham made a delightful half break and handed the ball to centre Tal Selley on the burst. The centre had far too much pace for the defence and rounded them all to touch down under the posts.
With Jamie Roberts replacing Rob Walters and Captain Andrew Jones taking over from Ceirian Jones in the front row the Drovers scored their fourth try. Again it was the Clapham - Selley combination as the outside half threw out a long miss pass to find Selley on the outside again speeding round the defence. The centre completed his hat trick when wing loan Davies followed up a kick and with a skillful pick up and pass once again sent Selley speeding through the defence. Harries converted all three and although the Gwent Valley side mounted numerous attacks they were not able to breach the visitors’ determined defence.
The one sour note of the day was the handling of the game by match referee Simon Wytcherly, who hails from Cwmcarn less than a mile from Pandy Park. He penalised the Drovers over 20 times, prevented a certain try by Neil Clapham by penalising him for running into a Keys defender but most bizarrely having awarded a ‘try’ to Llandovery was overruled by the touch judge who brought play back for an alledged forward pass. The question here is should referees be put under the pressure of officiating for their local sides?