The Quins leapfrogged Llandovery into fifth place in the Premiership with this hard fought win over their old Tywi Valley rivals. They are on 50 points - one ahead of the Drovers who slip to sixth - but both clubs are still in with an outside chance of making the play offs after the weekend defeats of both Bedwas and Cross Keys.
The Drovers still have five games to play whilst the Quins have just three and it looks as if both will have to win all their remaining games to be in with a squeak.
There was general delight as well as some relief in Carmarthen ranks at the end of what was predictably another great battle. Winning coach, Steve Williams praised the work of his side. “We were up against it at times but everyone put their shoulders to the wheel and it is a great feeling to do the double over the Drovers. We have trailed them all season but we have been improving steadily despite limited time and opportunity to train in the bad weather. We were also disrupted by some late withdrawals - including that of skipper Ian Jones - but the character and commitment of the whole side shone through.”
Llandovery were bitterly disappointed in failing to get the win that would keep them with a real chance of a play-off spot and also in seeing their local rivals go above them in the table. “We had territory, possession and chances galore,” said forwards coach Euros Evans, “but did not take advantage of some great positions. The Quins defence turned over some vital ball when we were in sight of their try line and we will look back at this game as a serious setback.”
The first half was very closely contested despite the Quins losing lock Gavin Evans to the sin bin. The home side had an edge at scrum and line out where ex-Llandovery flanker Haydn Pugh won some clean possession and crash ball centre Rheon James kept Llandovery tacklers very busy, but Llandovery were the more dangerous with ball in hand.
A try from home prop Rob Evans, converted by fly half Dan Newton, was cancelled out by one from flanker Shaun Miles, converted by fly half James Garland. Garland hit the upright with one penalty, missed another from 22 metres whilst Drovers wing Jake Randall was refused a corner try that many in the crowd thought had been scored.
Llandovery No 8 Kieran Murphy made some brilliant runs and at the end of one put Lee Rees haring clear, only for the little full back to hesitate long enough to see wing Dylan Morgans make a great cover tackle in the nick of time.
Soon after the break, a dreadful pass from Garland gifted Quins centre Alex Pickersgill a converted try before a Murphy inspired Llandovery did most of the attacking for the rest of the game. When flanker Ellis Lloyd was yellow carded, Murphy crossed to make it 14-12 but Newton kicked a crucial penalty at the end of a rare Quins attack. Continual Llandovery pressure failed to dent the brave home defence in which the back row of Pugh, Rory Gallagher and Lloyd plus centre James were towers of strength.