What the Papers Say - Huw S Thomas reports
Copyright Huw S Thomas, and used by kind permission of Huw S Thomas
Games between these two clubs are usually very tight affairs and this one at Church Bank was no exception, with the draw a fair result. Both sides were tied on Premiership points before the game and they remained so at the end of a bruising contest in which Keys had the better of the first half and the Drovers much the better of the second.
Cross Keys, Llanelli and Llandovery are all now tied on 17 points although Keys are in fifth, Llanelli sixth and the Drovers seventh through the try count criteria (23-21-20).
The start of the game was delayed for quarter of an hour because of lighting problems on and off the field and the first half was as depressingly drab as a gloomy Church Bank. In an eminently forgettable 40 minutes the Gwent pack had the upper hand in tight and loose to fashion tries for flanker Reuben Tucker and lock Simon Williams, whilst all the Drovers could muster was three penalties from fly half James Garland.
It was 12-9 to the visitors at the break and, with Lee Rees in the sin bin, things looked far from bright for the home side. But despite going 15-9 behind following a penalty from talented fly half Angus O’Brien, the Drovers started to get better possession and find more and more holes in the Keys defence.
Garland, Rees, full back Rhys Williams and Shaun Miles all made good breaks deep into away territory only to run out of support at crucial moments. Miles was outstanding in the loose but also at the lineout, where Llandovery were unrecognisable from the game against Pontypridd when the lineout had been so ineffective.
Garland kicked a penalty after Keys had lost flanker Carl Townsend to the sin bin but a yellow card for Drovers hooker Luke Lewis let O’Brien respond in kind. But when Keys lost hooker Darren Hughes for ten minutes, Garland added another penalty and did the same to level the scores 18-18 after full back James Cordy-Redden had become the third yellow carded visitor.
The Keys line was under constant pressure from waves of Llandovery attacks but held out to salvage the draw.