Superb inter-passing involving both forwards and backs formed the basis of Saturday’s very comprehensive demolition of a Beddau side that conceded seven tries in a highly entertaining game. The score could have been even greater had the home team been more dominant in the tight scrums and highly competitive in the line outs for the first half hour of the match.
The Drovers set out their stall early in the game and quickly established an eight-point lead. Hooker Andrew Jones opened the scoring when he dived over for the first try following a ruck close to the line. Although the try remained unconverted Gareth Jones soon made amends with a well-struck penalty. Wing Gareth Hopkins opened Beddau’s account in similar manner.
The game settled down into a contrast in style with the Drovers opening up and moving the ball at every opportunity and the home side trying to keep the ball tight and play 10-man rugby. The next two tries, one to each side, exemplified this difference in approach. The first try, and the Drovers’ second, came virtually after the whole side had handled the ball in the build up when full back Neil Clapham was able to round the last defenders to score in the corner. In contrast, the Beddau score came after a Llandovery scrum was wheeled through 90 degrees and from the reset the home side drove the Llandovery eight backwards, enabling No 8 Andrew Gwilym to pick up and cross unopposed. Hopkins added the extra points from the conversion.
As the half progressed the fine running and handling skills of the visitors continued to impress the crowd and none was more prominent than Canadian lock Jamie Cudmore, who made a number of telling runs into the heart of the defence. Following one of these attacks a charged down clearance kick provided the opportunity for centre Tal Selley to show his class as he cut through the defence for an excellent individual try and finish the first half with the Drovers leading by 20-10.
The start of the second half saw the home side experience their best passage of play. Using the slope to generate a series of rucks and mauls the Beddau forwards exerted tight control of the match and were awarded when scrum half Gareth Jones made an excellent break, found his half-back partner in support for Scott Edwards to cross under the posts from where Hopkins added the extra points.
Beddau continued to pressurise the Drovers’ defence but with the fitter-looking visitors continuing to open up the game at every opportunity, any hopes of the home team going into the lead were lost as the final quarter of the match became a one-way procession, with Llandovery adding a further 26 points without reply.
A huge 70 metre relieving kick out of defence by outside half, Gareth Jones acted as the catalyst, setting up a line out inside the home 22. Disrupting the Beddau line out the ball was driven into midfield where lively scrum half Jamie Roberts stole away from the back of a scrum, apparently unseen by the defence, to touch down under the posts. Gareth Jones converted.
Continuous home pressure on Beddau resulted in three further tries for the visitors. The first went to wing Gary Davies who, seeing the ball emerge from a ruck, picked it up and dived over the top to touch down; the second went to replacement hooker Simon Jenkins who benefited from good approach work by Neil Clapham and Gary Davies to crash over in the corner, whilst the final one fell to Ceri Davies who wrenched the ball from a maul and forced his way over.