What the Papers Say – Tom Hughes reports
Llandovery’s up and down season continued in controversial way at the Talbot Athletic Ground where they lost to the Wizards by the narrowest possible margin.
The Drovers led throughout the match only to see success snatched away from them in the 76th minutes of the game when a Wizards penalty put Aberavon ahead, 19-18. However, the Drovers spurned 2 opportunities in the dying minutes to get the points needed to clinch the victory.
The Drovers created enough opportunities to win the game but gave countless penalties away which resulted in 2 yellow cards and 19 points for the Wizards. Lock Richard Catchpole in the first half and No 8 Richard Brooks in the second were yellow carded by referee Robert Price, with the Richard Brooks dismissal crucial. The Drovers led 18-16 at that juncture but Aberavon took the lead four minutes from time against the 14 man visitors.
Fly half James Garland, who had a sound all round game, also hit the post with a penalty and missed a conversion and the flabbergasted Drovers had to be satisfied with a losing bonus point.
They stay in eighth position on 23 points after this, their seventh defeat in 12 matches, and are losing contact with seventh placed Llanelli who are on 30 points. Of even more concern is that they are only seven points away from the bottom of the table, which is occupied by Bridgend.
A win over Aberavon looked a distinct possibility at the start of Saturday’s game when the Drovers started with a real bang. Garland worked in wing Richard Williams for a 5th minute try converted by the fly half who soon added a penalty for a 10-0 lead. Two penalties from fly half Matthew Jarvis and another from Garland left it at 13-6 at half time but the Aberavon pack dominated play after the break.
The home backs lacked guile but the Drovers defence at last yielded when centre Matthew Jenkins finished off the driving play of his forwards with a try, converted by replacement Cameron Clement.
The quicker Llandovery backs were a real threat however and scrum half Lee Rees zipped through to make it 18-13, but Aberavon forward pressure and two Clement penalties sneaked the Wizards ahead for the first time before the dramas of the dying minutes.