What the Papers Say – Huw S Thomas reports:
The Drovers were not at full strength for this friendly with English National One side Cinderford but still ran out winners by four tries to one. In their final game before the British and Irish Cup clash with either Llanelli or Carmarthen Quins on September 7, Llandovery made light of the absence of a number of players rested for the National Premiership 7s on the Sunday by combining sound defence with some inventive back play.
Coaches Lyndon Lewis and Euros Evans were more than happy with their preparations for the season ahead. “We were impressed by some of our newcomers who showed that they will challenge for spots in our starting line up,” said Lewis. “We have not spent any silly money on signing players but such is the competition and ambition for places that we are quietly optimistic of a good year.”
Both Llandovery and Cinderford gave game time to 27 squad members each and there were no fewer than 13 players making their Church Bank debuts.
Behind the scrum there were eye-catching displays from full back Will Lewis, centres Craig Woodall and Rhodri Jones plus half backs Rhodri Davies and Ian Brooks. Davies looked sharp and incisive, Brooks ran and handled cleverly and Lewis attacked adventurously from deep.
Up front No 8 Richard Bloomfield showed class in the loose and flanker Andrew Green - raw but bubbling with enthusiasm - showed some powerful touches.
Stars of the show though were the indefatigable and experienced pair of lock Bryn Griffiths and flanker Richard Brooks, who were well supported by hooker Tom Ball, lock Llewelyn Jones and prop Wyn Jones.
Flanker Phil Day had several knocks, one necessitating five stitches on the eyebrow, but the newly elected captain led from the front throughout to stress his importance to the pack.
The Forest of Dean side were well organised and efficient but lacked the cutting edge to take advantage of the lion’s share of possession. They did score one very good early try thanks to the pace and positioning of ex-Carmarthen Quins wing Alex Pickersgill but their predictability caused Llandovery few problems. Apart from one five minute period in the second half when the pack threw everything at the Drovers’ defence, their attacking potential was limited.
Tries from debutant lock Stuart Miller and Woodall gave Llandovery a 12-10 interval lead and second half efforts from debutants Ian Brooks and wing Gary Stephens took the Drovers home without too much fuss.