What the Papers Say – Huw S Thomas reports:
Llandovery stayed top of Pool 8 and favourites to reach the knockout stages after completing the double over Scottish visitors Melrose. They are on 20 points after this bonus point win - five ahead of Nottingham - and will travel to play their nearest rivals next Saturday in the real hope of making the last eight.
The Drovers had beaten Melrose 29-14 at the Greenyards before Christmas thanks to some scintillating back play and once again the side kept the ball moving at all times.
It took just two minutes for the West Walians to take the lead, fly half James Garland kicking a 35 metre penalty with the assistance of the biting wind. Handling was the order of the day for the dangerous home backs - spearheaded by scrum half Rhodri Williams - but Melrose were also happy to pass rather than run in the dry conditions.
Garland added a penalty from the identical spot on 17 minutes but the best chance of a try came to the Scots. Successive drives on the home line nearly brought a score before a knock on let Llandovery off the hook.
A yellow card for flanker Hamish Watson was to prove costly for the visitors. In the flanker’s absence Llandovery ran in two quick tries, well converted by Garland. The first came off a line out after a series of drives ended with prop Dean Howells burrowing over, soon followed by the second when skipper Lloyd Phillips was up to crash over in support of the pack.
Things got better for the Drovers when Garland slipped a tackle to send Williams in near the posts for a converted try and a 27-0 interval lead.
A half time rendering of Flower of Scotland by the Llandovery Male Voice choir failed to lift away spirits and only a foot in touch prevented wing Aaron Warren from securing the bonus point for the Drovers. But it came 12 minutes into the half when slick passing along the line sent Warren diving over wide out, Garland converting impressively.
A yellow card for home back row Shaun Miles gave skipper Bruce Colvine the chance to snipe through for a Melrose try and full back Fraser Watson soon followed with a good effort wide out. Another yellow for Llandovery centre Matthew Jacobs had little effect and, after a bad injury to home lock Matthew Harbut stopped play for 10 minutes, the game petered out tamely with the Drovers clear winners.