What the Papers Say - Huw S Thomas reports:
Llandovery went down to a narrow defeat at the hands of the Premiership favourites but will kick themselves for not winning at a soggy Sardis Road. Their goal-kicking let them down big time with both James Garland and Cerith Rees missing relatively easy kicks at goal.
Five straightforward penalties went a begging and with them the chance of gaining a rare 23-21 or 26-21 win at The House Of Pain. It also meant the loss of a losing bonus point and, come the end of the season, could be very costly in the race to finish in the top three and qualify for a Premiership play-off spot.
The Llandovery forwards had an outstanding second half when they dominated most areas and put the home pack under a lot of pressure but they just could not convert all the possession and territory into points.
The Drovers had not played since January 12 and their ring rustiness was a distinct disadvantage in the first half against a side that came fresh from a recent 22-14 Swalec Cup win at Llanelli. Ponty had much the better of the first 40 minutes as Llandovery struggled to adapt to the pace of the game. Home fly half Simon Humberstone hit two penalties to one by opposite number James Garland, who also missed badly with two kicks before Ponty upped a gear.
A number of lineouts put Llandovery under pressure and centre Gavin Dacey skipped through for a try under the posts. A yellow card for lock Bryn Griffiths did not help the Drovers’ cause and wing Owen Williams dived over wide out just before the break for an 18-3 lead.
Garland kicked a penalty before Ponty forward Craig Locke was yellow carded and this allowed Llandovery to rally strongly under skipper and flanker Phil Day. Day, lock Shaun Jones and replacements Luke Kendall and Nio Aiono all impressed as the Drovers kept driving forward, helped by the heap of penalties that referee Gwyn Morris gave against Ponty in the contact area.
Full back Lee Rees threatened often from the back and Ponty had to do some hard defending in the final quarter. Replacement Cerith Rees missed badly with a penalty for the Drovers but wing Chris Knight crossed to make it 18-11 in the 71st minute. Humberstone put over a penalty, Rees missed another two penalties and Ponty were relieved to get a win to leave Llandovery supporters speechless at their side’s profligacy.