Carmarthen Tyres League
Llangadog 0 Llandovery Athletic 3
Only a lone penalty by Llandovery wing Dan Davies early in the first half separated two well matched sides who slugged it out head to toe for the full 80 minutes writes Huw S Thomas.
Thirty players and another dozen replacements – almost all of whom had come through the Junior Drovers ranks - deserved medals for surviving an icy wind, spitting rain, a hailstorm and cloying mud before retreating to the comfort of the clubhouse to watch the televised Wales v Italy game.
“Both sides gave it their all” said winning coach Geraint Williams. “We are a running side so the conditions did not favour us but we are delighted to win the local derby.”
Llangadog coach Tomas Marks – a former Drovers fly half – rued the missed chances and the failure of his backs to kick for field position but could not fault the efforts of his players.
“It was a rousing battle between players who know each other’s game so well and neither side deserved to lose such was the commitment” said Marks “but it was good to see so many spectators brave the weather and come to the early kick off game.”
In the first half Llandovery ignored the conditions with veteran fly half Ioan Davies trying to move the ball and they came near to a couple of tries.
Pressure did bring a penalty to wing Dan Davies – son of Llandovery RFC Chairman Handel Davies - and with the advantage of the elements the visitors had the lion’s share of possession and territory.
The back row of Craig Davies, Aled Walters and Tom Bailey, hooker Dylan Jones and prop Rhys Jones caught the eye in the loose but Llandovery were at fault in trying to handle too often rather than kick their way downfield.
Llangadog defended hard with the back row of Aled Thomas, the outstanding Owain Jones and Dylan Morgan always in the thick of things but after the break it was Llandovery’s turn to have their backs to the wall.
Llangadog half backs Aled Jenkins and Matthew Bailey kept feeding their big forwards on the charge and prop Dewi Howells and lock Adam Thompson made good ground only to hit rock solid defence.
The glutinous mud slowed everyone down to a standstill as the players neared exhaustion but Llandovery came near to snatching a try against the run of play when replacement back Rhodri Davies was just beaten to the race for the loose ball.
Such huge effort from all the players warranted a draw but Llandovery clung on to their slender lead in the arctic like conditions.