What the Papers Say - Huw S Thomas reports:
The Drovers went down to a surprise defeat in the British and Irish Cup at the hands of a combative but colourless Doncaster. It was a keen disappointment for some 40 former players from the newly formed Yr Hen Borthmyn association who were meeting up at Church Bank for the first time.
Llandovery’s chances of getting to the knockout stages of the Cup now depend on their winning either or both games at Doncaster and Nottingham - a tall order given their disappointing form on Saturday.
In a game dominated, spoiled and destroyed by the whistle of an ineffectual referee, Llandovery found no rhythm or fluidity in their play and will have to buck up their ideas in the return fixture at Doncaster this week.
The Drovers cannot complain at the result as they were comprehensively beaten up front by a side bottom but one in the Championship and their chances of qualifying for the knockout stages are dubious.
The Knights – now directed by former Wales defence coach Clive Griffiths – had a decisive edge at scrum and line out and were more robust at the breakdown. “Forwards win games,” said Griffiths – capped for Wales at fullback in 1979 – “and we will take huge confidence from this away win after a difficult three months.”
In a game of over 40 penalties from the whistle of out of depth London Society referee Simon Harding, the lottery was won by Doncaster despite their two yellow cards in the second half.
“We just did not understand the referee’s decisions either at scrum or breakdown,” said home coach Lyndon Lewis, “but we must get ourselves off the floor for the return. We did break through their defence on the odd occasion and one pass would have brought results so we must get a bit more ball and use our backs to better effect this week.”
"We were confused by many of the referee’s decisions,” continued Lewis. “However, this was a sub-standard performance. We need a vastly improved performance across the board if we are to win in Doncaster next week. Despite their low position in the league we need to remember that they are a full time pro outfit with an abundance of funding. We will continue to work hard this week and we know what we need to do next weekend. The players are disappointed with their performance. Qualifying from the group is still in our hands.
Llandovery looked the far more inventive and adventurous behind but dangerous runners like Rhodri Williams, Adam Warren, Matthew Jacobs and Lee Rees had limited possession and only once did Llandovery unlock the Knights’ defence. The try came in the third minute when scrum-half Williams made a try for left wing Jake Randall with a clever grubber kick.
From there on, the Doncaster forwards dominated possession at scrum, line out and loose with three former Dragons in hooker Rhys Buckley, lock Royce Cadman and No 8 Sam Pailor always to the fore.
The Knights led 10-7 at the break after a try from on loan Tigers centre Andy Symons plus five points from fly half Jamie Lennard and ruled the roost from there on. They lost both Buckley and prop Brian McGovern to yellow cards but their dominance in most areas was unchanged.
Rees and Lennard swapped two penalties apiece, with Lennard’s late injury time effort earning a hard earned win for the Yorkshiremen.