What the Papers Say: Huw S Thomas reports:
Top of the table Neath came to Church Bank looking for their fifth consecutive win of the season but were outdone by a brave and battling Llandovery.
The Drovers consolidated their best ever start in the Principality Premiership by recording their fourth win in five games to the delight of coaches Lyndon Lewis and Euros Evans. They move up to just a point behind the Welsh All Blacks and confirmed the good impression that they are making in the Premiership.
Vast improvement in defence, a reliable lineout and high fitness levels are making them very competitive and have been the key to wins over famous old clubs in Cardiff, Aberavon, Bridgend and Neath.
Neath’s new Director of Coaching Richard Webster experienced his first loss since taking over the reins at The Gnoll and had to be satisfied with a losing bonus point. When asked for the causes of defeat, the ever succinct Webster contented himself with the observation - “they were better than us”
The Llandovery coaches were thrilled by the way their young side competed with a very experienced Neath. It was a triumph of youth for the ultra competitive Drovers whose back line included many young players, including two talented 18 year olds in scrum-half Rhodri Williams and wing Jake Randall.
“We put our faith in youth,” said Llandovery coach Lyndon Lewis, “and it was hugely satisfying to see that policy rewarded with a great winning try made by two talented teenagers.”
Bigger up front - but less mobile - Neath edged the first half 10-7, a try from wing Jamie Davies and conversion plus penalty from fly-half Cameron Clement shading a try from wing Lee Rees and conversion from fly-half Cerith Rees.
The fly-half made it 10-10 soon after the break and from there on it was a question of who could get the next vital score. Charges from flanker Lee Evans and big storming runs from wing Kevin James all but breached the home defence but the winning score in a tight and nervous second half came from the Drovers, 12 minutes from normal time.
It was made by one former Wales U18 international in scrum-half Rhodri Williams – son of ex-Swansea scrum half Alan Williams – and scored by another in wing Jake Randall who is still studying for his “A” levels at Coleg Sir Gar. Williams broke through with a dummy and side step before chipping through, where a kind bounce allowed the alert Randall to scoop up the ball on the run and sprint clear from 25 metres.
It was all Neath in the final 10 minutes but the home defence, with No 8 Lloyd Phillips leading the way in marvellous fashion, fought like tigers to keep out every Neath effort to get the equaliser.
Big performances then from each and every Drover was the order of the day with five star contributions from wing Lee Rees, centre Matthew Jacobs, scrum half Rhodri Williams, lock Shaun Jones and the quite brilliant Lloyd Phillips.