Narberth went down to their third consecutive home defeat as Llandovery gave them a lesson in tight forward play and making the most of the scoring opportunities. It was hardly the preparation for a visit to league leaders Pontypool on Saturday for Narberth.
Centres Herman Bosman and Tal Selly created the midfield magic for the visitors as they made most of their opportunities with some flick passing. Lock Canadian Jamie Cudmore and Tom Walker won the clean line-out possession but set the speedy Llandovery three-quarter line on several impressive raids. The visitors' pack might have been impressive in the loose but their close-knit mauling around the ball-carrier was immense with Narberth having no answer to their driving play.
Llandovery captain and prop Andrew Jones was delighted with the victory. "This was a great win and we showed that our forwards can dominate and backs can create wonderful tries."
Coach Iestyn Thomas said that attitude had played a major part. "This was total commitment by the whole side and we might not be a fashionable club but people will now take notice of our quality," he said.
Having started strongly, Narberth flattered to deceive as they failed to penetrate a strong Llandovery defence who held all the aces. After 11 minutes, the Drovers gave their hosts a lesson in how to use possession and clinical finishing. The visiting forwards recycled the ball through six phases of play and eventually worked left-wing Gary Davies clear for his seventh touchdown of the campaign. Ten minutes later, the visitors extended the lead as flankers Luka Plesko and Aled Davies continued to dominate the loose play. It was the pack that took the glory as they mauled their way to the try-line, prop Dorian Williams emerged from a pile of bodies with the ball for another try.
Led by powerful runs from lively hooker Simon Delaney, Narberth gradually worked their way upfield. Tighthead prop Andrew Howell stormed up the left-hand touchline and from the ruck simple passing gave right-wing Daniel Gravelle the room to score in the gloom of the right-hand touchline.
A penalty after just two minutes of the second half by Stuart Harrise extended Llandovery's lead to 15-5 but the best was yet to come. Three minutes later, the Drovers scored the best try of the evening. Impressive fly-half Neil Clapham picked up possession just inside the Narberth half and with an eye for the gap, and using his pace, he side-stepped his way past a bemused defence to go 40 metres for a thrilling try.
Narberth continued to win plenty of ball and five minutes from time, Centre Elgin Viddle raced clear after a huge overlap. The visitors however had the last say as Canadian Cudmore bulldozed his way over for Llandovery's fourth try in injury time.
Additional report from the Beddau match programme
I am sure that all our supporters who travelled to Narberth on Tuesday night will have thoroughly enjoyed the game. The fact that we won convincingly by 13-32 is now a matter of record but the manner in which the victory was achieved was the most satisfactory part of the exercise.
The game plan laid out in the changing rooms before the match was simple. Forward domination, no messing around and play with attitude. The actual words used were somewhat different but cannot be used here but the sentiments are similar.
The buzz amongst both players and coaches afterwards was as much to do with the way this game plan worked as with the actual win itself. The whole of the forward squad excelled, both the starting line up and the replacements. The starting eight was, Dorian Williams, Simon Jenkins, Andrew Jones (Capt), Tom Walker, Jamie Cudmore, Aled Davies, Luka Plesko and Steven Phillips. Five replacements were used, Ceirian Jones. Lyndon Bateman, Wayne Beynon, Chris Davies and Ceri Davies.
Even with this number of changes there was no noticeable change in either the pattern nor the domination. It is difficult to pick anyone out but credit must be given for outstanding work by the two locks both in the lines out and around the field, Luka for his tackling and disruption of the home half-backs and Dorian for his work in both tight and loose. Another to catch the eye was hooker Simon Jenkins who was very lively in the loose and much improved in his throwing into the line out.
The backs supported the work of the forwards efficiently and were decisive in their finishing. The try scored by Neil Clapham was a classic and even the Otters crowd applauded enthusiastically.
The defensive pattern shown by the whole side was much improved and discipline in this defence was much better also. It is good to see the penalty count against us dropping.
Stuart Harries was again in form with the boot, converting three of the four tries and also kicking two penalties in a personal tally of 12 points which takes him to 68 so far this season in the five matches he has played.
Congratulations also go to Gareth Jones who was making his debut for the Drovers. Gareth came on to replace Neil Clapham for the last quarter of the game and showed some neat touches. The former Bonymaen player will surely be an excellent acquisition to our squad.