Drovers push Ponty in pre-season battle
12:52pm Monday 19th August 2013 in Sport
Pontypridd 21 Llandovery 9
Llandovery posted notice that they will again be very competitive in the Premiership when they pushed the defending champions hard before conceding two late tries at a very wet Sardis Road, writes Huw S Thomas
The Drovers made light of the loss of some key players to English, French and Italian clubs by competing with huge gusto throughout and actually led 9-6 until as late as the 69th minute.
Ponty won the lion’s share of possession in this friendly between the first and second in last year’s Premiership table but found the Drovers defence under flanker Phil Day rugged, well organised and hard to break down.
Coaches Lyndon Lewis and Euros Evans were disappointed to see Ponty hit them with two tries in the last quarter of an hour but will take huge encouragement from the closeness of the contest.
“We faded at the end but we gave all the squad some game time and the experience of playing at such a tough place as Sardis Road will stand them in good stead for the season ahead,” said Lewis.
“To give Ponty a good run for their money and be actually in sight of victory until the 69th minute will give us all a big boost.”
New signing from Waunarlwydd, wing Lee Evans kicked two good first half penalties to cancel out two by fly-half Simon Humberstone to leave the scores tied 6-6 at the break.
Ponty had the better chances of tries but Llandovery also came near when centre Matthew Jacobs was brought down in full flight near the home line.
When Evans converted all his side’s commitment into a 9-6 lead with another penalty after 64 minutes, it stung the champions into action.
The Llandovery pack now short of powerful scrummagers Wyn Jones and Dean Howells was in trouble and Ponty lock and skipper Chris Dicomidis crashed over for the lead.
A Humberstone penalty stretched the lead to 14-9 but Llandovery were still very much in the game with replacement scrum half Rhodri Davies looking sharp.
And it was harsh on the Drovers when they conceded seven points at the death to a try from centre Dafydd Locker and a conversion by replacement fly half Dion McIntosh, son of Ponty coach Dale McIntosh.
The Drovers continue their pre season preparations this Saturday when they entertain English Division One side Cinderford at Church Bank (KO 2 30 pm)
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