What the Papers Say – Huw S Thomas reports:
Llandovery beat their fierce Tywi Valley rivals by the narrowest of margins to squeeze into the last eight of the Swalec Cup.
There was absolutely nothing to choose between two sides who are still under the dark shadow and threat of relegation from the Premiership and they will resume hostilities this Saturday with their first league encounter of the season at Carmarthen Park.
Losing coach Max Howells did not seem overly disappointed with the Cup loss. “After beating the league leaders Pontypridd 6-3, I thought we would win at Church Bank but we did not reproduce Tuesday night's form. Good luck to the Drovers in the Cup but we will put our energies into climbing out of trouble.”
Llandovery coach Lyndon Lewis took the Cup win as a psychological boost in the battle for Premiership survival. “We will do our utmost to repeat the 2007 feat of winning the Cup and we will take a deal of confidence into the game at Carmarthen on Saturday.”
“We are getting to be one point kings” smiled Lewis. “In our last four games we have lost to Ayr 20-19, beaten Llanharan 12-10, Birmingham & Solihull 15-14 and the Quins 20-19. It's not good for the heart.”
It was a cup tie - beautifully refereed by Huw Watkins - that was full of talking points: Quins scrum-half Sililo Martens was yellow carded early on for a dangerous spear tackle, the place kicking of Quins full-back James Stephenson was international class, and the injury to visiting flanker Stuart Phillips could have turned to tragedy but for the quick thinking of Llandovery doctor Rob Salt.
When Martens was off, Llandovery scored a try through flanker Lloyd Phillips and Stephenson's power and direction was reminiscent of his father Jeff Stephenson, who kicked so many points for Ebbw Vale 30 years ago.
When Quins captain Phillips was concussed late on and swallowed his tongue, the quick reaction of the doctor to flip it back in place served to remind clubs of the vital necessity for medical support.
That Llandovery won was down to the edge they had in creativity, scoring two well worked tries against the lone Quins efforts from wing Darren Daniel. Lloyd Phillips went in under the sticks after great approach work from full-back Howard Thomas, flanker Nio Aiono and lock Marc de Marigny. Skipper Cerith Rees converted and added a penalty before the Quins hit back to punish home ill discipline, Stephenson kicking two difficult penalties and the touchline conversion of a try by Daniel to make it 13-10 to the visitors at half-time.
A sweeping Llandovery move ended with No 8 Dean Fitzgerald squeezing in at the corner and the Rees conversion put Llandovery back ahead 17-13 before the Quins pack got the upper hand. Stephenson kicked two more fine penalties only for Rees to slot the winning kick 10 minutes from time.
The Phillips accident brought a long delay and the Quins could find no way through outstanding Llandovery defence.