What the Papers Say - Huw S Thomas reports
Copyright Huw S Thomas, and used by kind permission of Huw S Thomas
The Drovers came agonisingly close to a win at Pandy Park only to be denied at the death by desperate Cross Keys defence.
A win would have taken them to top spot in the Premiership but they fell three points short of the objective in a game that was as close as everybody forecast between the top two in the league. The tightness of the contest and the wins for Newport, Pontypridd, Aberavon and Ebbw Vale confirmed that any one of six - even seven teams with Bedwas - are within reach of a play off spot.
Many Llandovery supporters were convinced that with a firmer ground and less inhospitable conditions their favourites would have brought home the bacon but admitted that Keys forward power in the cloying conditions carried the day.
Coach Euros Evans was a disappointed man but, ever a realist, he acknowledged that the game could have - and did - go either way. “We have 10 games left and it will be the three sides that hold their nerve under pressure that will make the play offs. The standard of play in the conditions was high and it is all to play for in the second half of the season. We face the Quins and Bridgend at home in our next two games and need to win them to keep our momentum.”
The Drovers led at the break - in a contest that was a credit to the division - thanks to a stunning try from ex-Cardiff Blues full back Will Thomas who has had a new lease of life since arriving at Church Bank. Extra quick, with wonderful acceleration off a standing start, Thomas finished off a sweeping attack in style to score the only try of the first half.
Fly half Jack Maynard and Keys full back Owen Howe –a Llandovery College product – also swapped a couple of penalties to leave it 10-4 to the West Walians at half time.
The heavier Keys scrummage and driving play in the loose got them on top after the break and tries from No 8 Adam Powell and wing Matthew Powell plus Howe points from the boot took them to a 20-10 lead. But a bonus point was the least that Llandovery deserved and their backs conjured up a fine late try for replacement centre Rhodri Jones.
Maynard - now with over 100 Premiership points for the season - hit the conversion and the Drovers threw everything but the kitchen sink at the Gwent defence which held on to victory by the skin of its teeth.