Principality Premiership leaders Llandovery opened their British and Irish Cup campaign by inflicting a narrow and very hard earned three tries to two defeat on English visitors Nottingham.
The Tywi Valley club’s good form continued with this win over a side that lies third in the RFU Championship table, tucked in behind Newcastle Falcons and Bedford Blues. The Green and Whites will regret fielding a side that showed multiple changes from the one that had walloped Jersey 48-16 the week before.
The Drovers rotated a number of players and with so many of the squad being in form it is difficult to name what would be their best team - competition for places is bringing out quality performances week in week out from many players. Despite their changes, Nottingham but still named a side with the vast majority being full time professional players and Llandovery’s win should therefore not be under-estimated.
The heavier Nottingham forwards carried the ball hard throughout the game in an attempt to grind down the Drovers. However the more inventive Llandovery backs combined well with the forwards, kept the ball in hand effectively throughout the match, and scored 3 well worked tries.
This is the first game in which the Drovers failed to gain a bonus point, and the home coaches were disappointed with this as they felt that their side had created enough opportunities.
A neat break from centre Jack Roberts all but brought the first try, only for full back Lee Rees to knock on, but Rees soon made amends when a long floated pass out wide fashioned a chip and chase score for wing Chris Knight.
Fly half Rory Lynn reduced the leeway with an easy penalty before Knight all but repeated his kick and chase effort.
Fly half Cerith Rees put over an angled penalty after wing Jack Cobden had been yellow carded for a deliberate knock on but a minute later Llandovery got another try from bustling No 8 Luke Kendall, converted by his fly half.
When home lock Shaun Jones was sin binned for offside the visitors quickly hit back with a corner try from hard working No 8 Alex Shaw.
A 40 metre Cerith Rees penalty made it 18-8 at the break but it was hard earned against a physical and very well drilled pack. Two Lynn penalties against one from Cerith Rees soon made it 21-14 and then Drovers centre Jack Roberts dummied through for a grand solo try converted by the reliable Rees.
With the visitors pack well on top, centre Joe Cobden raced through for a converted try to make for an exciting finish. The big English forwards pounded away in search of the try that could have brought them level but some desperate home defence was just about up to the task.
Man of the Match: Jack Roberts (Llandovery)