What the Papers Say - Huw S Thomas reports:
Llandovery came agonisingly close to recording their first ever win at the Gnoll only to fall short by a single point in 51.
In yet another combative and full-hearted performance the Drovers gave the Premiership champions the fright of their lives before having to settle with a losing bonus point.
The next three games for the Drovers are all at home – against Pontypridd on Friday (Nov 26), Bedwas on December 1 and Tonmawr on December 4 - and they will be looking to get at least a couple of wins to get them away from the foot of the Premiership table. With both Glamorgan Wanderers and Carmarthen Quins in poor form, there is the opportunity for Llandovery to put some space between themselves and their two fellow strugglers.
Last Saturday, it was ironic that two of Neath's three tries came from former Drovers in centre Stephen Thomas and scrum-half Tom James, a one time Llandovery College captain.
And if skipper Cerith Rees untypically had not missed both conversions of second-half tries from promising centre Adam Warren and Wales 7s wing Ifan Evans, then Llandovery would have gained an historic win.
One conversion came back off the upright and Llandovery also ran a first-half penalty under the Neath posts rather than settling for the certain three points.
“We had it in our grasp to win the game,” said Llandovery Chairman Handel Davies, “but we take huge encouragement from pushing the defending champions so close on their own patch. There was nothing between the two sides and it was another of those games that slipped away from us and ended in defeat when it could so easily have been a win.”
The two Llandovery tries were well crafted and well finished. The first came from a break by flanker Lloyd Phillips which ended with centre Warren dummying over. The second was set up by replacement flanker Richie Pugh who chased his own kick, fed Lee Rees and the little wing popped the ball up to the supporting Evans.
Coaches Lyndon Lewis and Euros Evans continue to give youth its head with the young front row of Owen Evans, Sam Parry and Dean Howells shining against vastly more experienced competitors in Anthony Lott, Gerwyn Price and ex-Sale prop Ross Davies.
Adam Warren and Matthew Jacobs are developing into a very good centre pairing whilst the will-o-the-wisp Lee Rees excels wherever he plays in the back division.
All the club needs now before Christmas is some Premiership wins to confirm the promise of recent games. It will be a tough call on Friday night against the league leaders Pontypridd but the Drovers ran Ponty close in the British and Irish Cup before going down 28-18 and hopes of another good performance are high.