The Drovers have Jamie Roberts to thank for this hard won victory over a determined Llanharan side. The scrum-half, whose appearances this season have been curtailed by Accountancy exams, was in tip-top form, scoring two tries, setting up a third and bringing off a marvellous tackle that saved a certain seven points. The other major contributor to the victory was the boot of full-back Stuart Harries with a personal tally of 17 points.
The match, although exciting to the end, was a scrappy affair with too many unforced errors. Within five minutes of the start Llandovery took the lead when Roberts scored the first of his tries. Following a rolling maul the scrum-half received the ball, broke the initial tackle and darted through the defence to score near the posts. It was then the turn of Stuart Harries to contribute to the home side’s score as he converted the try and kicked a further three penalties, one resulting in a yellow card for the visitors prop, Alexander.
For Llanharan, centre Paul Morgan’s penalty was their only reply and the score stood at 16-3 at half-time.
Within minutes of the restart Roberts got his second try. The visitors were penalised for killing the ball at a ruck, and in a flash he seized the ball, took the penalty and crossed near the posts. Harries converted.
The Llanharan pack then began to take greater control of the game and, as the Llandovery eight wilted, the visitors dominated. An attempt to run the ball out of defence by Gary Davies saw the wing tackled and penalised for holding on. Llanharan ran the penalty and wing Richard Johnson crossed for an unconverted try.
This was followed by what was probably the most telling episode in the match. The Llanharan open-side flanker broke clear of a ruck on the home 10 metre line and, seeing no defenders in front of him, sprinted to the line. Crossing under the posts he stopped to put the ball down with his back to play, when unseen by him, scrum-half Roberts, at full speed, crashed into his back, causing him to spill the bail forward. At the resulting five metre scrum Llanharan were penalised and the danger was over.
This didn’t stop the continual pressure from the visitors’ pack and prop Alexander, restored to play after his yellow card, scored for centre Morgan to convert to take the score to 23-15.
Back came the home side and on a rare incursion into the visitors’ territory, a break by Roberts set up wing loan Davies for the Drovers’ third try. Harries converted.
Again continued pack pressure brought Llanharan back into the game with two tries from flanker Peter Wheeler and fullback John Hooper, both unconverted, to set up a frantic final 10 minutes. Both sides tried everything they knew to secure the three league points. Stuart Harries missed two penalties, was tackled into touch in goal as he dived for a winning score, and a second yellow card was shown to the visitors before, finally, Gary Davies made up for his earlier mistake when he scooped up a dropped pass to dive over the line to score. Harries converted and the final whistle sounded, much to the relief of the home support.