What the Papers Say - Huw S Thomas reports:
Llandovery won a typically hard fought local derby to do the double over their Tywi Valley rivals. They went back to the top of the table in front of a bumper Church Bank holiday crowd that included WRU President Dennis Gethin, his nephew and IRB Commercial Director Huw Morgan, Scarlets Head of Regional Development and Recruitment Gareth Jenkins, and former world number one referee Clive Norling.
The Drovers impressed them all to stay in close contention for a play off spot with two games left - home to Swansea on Tuesday April 17 and away to Pontypridd on Wednesday April 25.
There was little to choose between two sides that have produced outstanding rugby throughout the season but Llandovery managed to edge it because of a purple patch of scoring either side of half time.
Both coaches - Lyndon Lewis (Llandovery) and Steve Williams (Quins) - agreed that the teams were evenly matched, with Williams brave enough to state that the Drovers took their chances more readily and kept their composure better.
“We let our concentration slip for the first time in defence at a poorly controlled scrum and Llandovery gobbled up the chance,” said the former Wales forward. “Our discipline then went and we were suddenly 13 points adrift at the break when we could have so easily been ahead. Fair play to Llandovery, they turned the screw with ten more points and by the time we got ourselves together again, the game had slipped away.”
Llandovery’s Lewis praised the all round contribution of the whole squad but gave a special mention to 18th minute replacement fly-half Cerith Rees. “James Garland has been playing well but when he went off it was great to see Cerith use all his experience to stamp his authority on the game and play a major role in the win. We have two league games and the final of the Tovali Cup left to play and competition for places will be intense but there is a great atmosphere within club and squad and everyone is ready to give their all.”
The game was finely balanced after a tight first half had produced not a single point after 37 minutes play. If anything, the Quins looked the more dangerous and won the line outs hands down thanks to the great jumping of former Llandovery lock Haydn Pugh.
Then veteran scrum half Rob Walters underlined his value to Llandovery when he dispossessed opposite number young Huw Rees at the back of a scrum and lock Matthew Harbut was swiftly in support to crash through a pile of tacklers. Cerith Rees kicked the conversion before hitting the Quins with a brace of penalties to make it a surprising 13-0 at the break.
The second penalty had come after Quins and Scarlets fly half Aled Thomas had been yellow carded for back chat to the referee Martyn Lewis and it took the visitors a long time to regain their confidence. Rees got a third penalty and then made a break to put centre Matthew Jacobs in for a try which he converted from the touch line.
At 23-0, it was all over for the Quins but they rallied bravely with late tries from centre Jason Harries and Scarlets full back Dan Evans to dream of what might have been.
Principality Man of the Match: Cerith Rees (Llandovery)