What the Papers Say – Tom Hughes reports:
Llandovery slipped down to third place in the Premiership table when they lost by three tries to one to a fast improving Bedwas side at Bridge Field.
With Pontypridd not in action at the weekend Carmarthen Quins went to the top of the table after their win over Swansea. The top two are tied on 47 points but the Quins have won more games and Llandovery are just one point adrift on 46.
It was just the third defeat of the season for the Drovers but they did have the consolation of a losing bonus point and one which could be very valuable at the end of the league programme.
Llandovery’s next two fixtures will be crucial in their attempt to finish in the top three and claim an end of season play off place. On February 22 they entertain Cross Keys who are just one place behind them and then travel to take on defending champions Pontypridd at Sardis Road on March 1.
Coach Lyndon Lewis got a full effort from his charges at Bedwas and with a bit more luck could have come away with a victory. “We had the better of the second half after trailing 19-10 at the break but despite some reasonable opportunities we could not finish them off,” said Lewis.
Lewis added, “It was great to see Lloyd Phillips return following a long spell out after his shoulder operation. Lloyd played the last 20 minutes and came through unscathed.”
Three Bedwas tries including two sparkling efforts from wing Rory Budina had trumped a very good try from bustling centre Craig Woodall plus a conversion and penalty by fly half James Garland.
The Drovers picked up the challenge with a Garland penalty getting them to 19-13 but very sound home defence, some cruel bounces and one or two puzzling decisions from the officials combined to deny the visitors a tenth win of the season.
Attention this week now turns to the Swalec Cup round of the last 16 when Llandovery travel to take on Championship side Tondu who have got this far after drawing 22-22 at Llanharan and going through on superior try count.
“We will pay Tondu every respect,” said coach Lewis “as we know how difficult away games are in the Cup.”
“The club has great memories of winning the 2007 Cup against the odds,” added Llandovery Chairman Handel Davies, “and we would dearly love to make it to the Millennium Stadium again. It’s all to play for this Saturday at Tondu.”