Drovers see off Blacks to rise to second
Updated 2:27pm Monday 20th January 2014 in Sport
TACKLE: Llandovery's Richard Bloomfield is brought down in the win over Neath. RileySports (Gwenno Davies)
Neath 11 Llandovery 20
The Drovers climbed to second place in the Premiership and above local rivals Carmarthen Quins with a richly-deserved win at the Gnoll, writes Tom Hughes.
Despite losing key men to the Llanelli side that played in the British and Irish Cup game against Connacht, Llandovery had much the better of exchanges and were unlucky not to claim a winning bonus point.
They scored three tries through wing Jake Randall, No 8 Richard Brooks and wing Sam Soul but were refused two penalty tries when the Neath pack was back pedalling.
This was the second successive year for the Drovers to do the double over the Welsh All Blacks and keeps them in real contention for a play-off place with nine games remaining.
“To win at the Gnoll without Wyn Jones, our best prop, Rhodri Davies, our best scrum half, Aaron Warren, our quickest wing and an excellent lock in Llew Jones, speaks volumes for the strength of the squad that Lyndon (Lewis) and Euros (Evans) have built,” said chairman Handel Davies.
“Llanelli saw fit to borrow some of our key players for their British and Irish Cup game out in Connacht but everyone stepped up to the mark to come away with an important win.”
The Drovers got an early try when a cross kick from fly half Ian Brooks made a try for wing Jake Randall but the yellow carding of lock Bryn Griffiths allowed fly half Dai Langdon the chance to kick two penalties.
Neath full back Aaron Bramwell was yellow carded just before half time and the Llandovery pack under lock and skipper Phil Day upped the tempo in grand style.
Their scrum was particularly strong and a high tackle on wing Sam Soul should have brought a penalty try.
Neath escaped but were then powerless to stop a series of close range attacks ending in No8 Brooks crashing through for a try converted by elder brother Ian.
The force was with the Drovers and when the home side lost centre Aaron Pinches for 10 minutes for back chat, Ian Brooks added a penalty.
Heavily penalised in tight and loose by referee Perkins, Neath slipped further behind when big Sam Soul grabbed a well deserved try from a box kick by scrum half Lee Rees following a crunching tackle by full back Mike Evans on No 8 Lee Evans.
Promising debuts from on loan replacements flanker Andrew Green (Brynamman) and prop Lewys Jonathan (Ammanford) followed before Neath salvaged a very late consolation try through centre Ceri Young.
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