What the Papers Say - Tom Hughes reports:
The Drovers got their third Premiership draw of the season when they shared 36 points with the Black and Ambers at Rodney Parade. The two points for the draw was poor reward and little consolation for having far the better of possession and play.
The Drovers are still very much in the hunt for a top three play-off spot but have slipped to fourth in the Premiership table after some patchy recent form. Defeats at the hands of Pontypridd and Carmarthen Quins and Saturday’s draw have resulted in an abstemious harvest of just three points in the last three games. And they now face the daunting task on Friday night February 1 of facing a Pontypridd side that is all but unbeatable at Sardis Road.
After close battles with Aberavon (32-32) and Bedwas (6-6), the Newport game was one that could so easily have been won with a little more composure and there was a keen sense of disappointment in Llandovery ranks at the end of the game.
“The game was there for the taking,“ said Llandovery Secretary Robin Barlow “but through a combination of good Newport defence and poor judgement on our part we got two rather than four or even possibly five points. After creating three good tries in the first half, we spurned some golden chances after the break to leave Newport off the hook.”
Wing Andrew Claypole, centre Jack Roberts and Scarlets flanker Richie Pugh crossed for the Drovers, with centres Dan Robinson and Adam Davies getting the home tries. Newport fly half Scott Sneddon shaded opposite number Cerith Rees in the kicking stakes, putting over a conversion and two penalties to the one penalty from Rees. Llandovery’s failure to convert any of their first half tries was also to cost them dearly.
The second half was full of good intent but disappointing execution with neither side able to score a single point despite getting into some prime attacking positions. Llandovery replacement fly half James Garland had a difficult late penalty from 40 metres but pushed the ball wide and with that went the final chance of victory.
The Drovers return to British and Irish Cup action at Church Bank this Saturday (KO 3.00 pm) when the famous Melrose club play their first ever fixture against Llandovery. One of the great Borders clubs and home of seven a side rugby which was invented by Melrose butcher Ned Haigh back in 1883, they are now coached by former Scotland and Lions fly half Craig Chalmers. Llandovery beat them at The Greenyards in December and need another win if they are to stay top of Pool 8 and remain favourites to qualify for the knockout stages.