What the Papers Say - Tom Hughes reports:
Llandovery – winners of the Welsh Cup in 2007 – reached the final for the second time in their history with this close win over Pontypridd at St Helen’s Swansea. They foiled Pontypridd’s attempt to reach their sixth consecutive Welsh Cup final after a taut, tense and competitive semi final which was in doubt until the end.
With Carmarthen Quins beating Cross Keys in the other semi final in Aberavon, it means an all Carmarthenshire final at the Millennium Stadium on May 1. Before then, the Drovers have two Premiership games this week - away at the Quins and Cardiff - and two bonus point wins will guarantee a place in the play offs.
The late Ray Gravell would have had no qualms in claiming that for this year at least West is indeed best in the Cup.
The Drovers outscored Ponty by three tries to one – wing Aaron Warren and full back Will Thomas in the first half, fly half Jack Maynard in the second - and for that alone they deserved their triumph on a playing surface that suited their running and handing style.
They trailed 10-0 early on to a try from scrum half Joel Raikes and five points from the boot of fly half Ceri Sweeney but the Warren and Thomas tries helped them to a 15-13 interval lead.
It was nip and tuck after that but great defence and a strong finish did for the hugely disappointed Ponty.
“A great day for us to beat Ponty after losing to them twice in the Premiership,” said Handel Davies, who gives up the chairmanship after ten selfless years to the cause of his home town. “In my first year as chairman we beat Cardiff to win the Cup and it would be brilliant if President Phil Davies and I can finish our terms with a second Cup success,” said Davies. “The Quins have improved dramatically in recent games and it will be a humdinger of a battle between two Scarlets feeder clubs.”
The crucial period of the game came just after half time when Llandovery held a slender 15-13 lead before they lost flanker Stuart Worrall for 10 minutes. The 14 men under skipper and hooker Luke Lewis defended like dervishes to stop a rampant Ponty from scoring and, although they fell behind 16-15 to a second Sweeney penalty, they responded in style when the ex-Welsh international was himself yellow carded for a high tackle.
Maynard kicked a penalty for an 18-16 lead, Llandovery kept their discipline in the face of increasing pressure and the young fly half, who has enjoyed such a fine season in his first year at Church Bank, dealt the killer blow when he raced away for an interception try he himself converted for a personal tally of 15 points.