Swalec Cup - semi final

Llandovery 27 Cross Keys 29

Llandovery dreams of getting to the Swalec Cup final at the Millennium Stadium on May 4 were shattered when Cross Keys edged them out in a thrilling semi-final at the Gnoll, writes Huw S Thomas.

They outscored the Gwent side by four tries to three and if fly half James Garland had kicked one more conversion to tie the scores, then the Drovers would have gone through on try count

The Drovers were outplayed for most of the first half at the end of which they trailed 18-10 but rallied well after the break to win the second half 17-11

Coach Lyndon Lewis was devastated by the nature of the defeat.

“We were the better footballing side but when you make too many errors in our own 22 and suffer turnovers at the breakdown, a well drilled unit like Cross Keys will punish you.” said Lewis.

“We started too slowly but with more ball we scored three second half tries. Sadly it was not enough and we can only look back at what might have been.”

James Cordy-Redden got a Keys try after just two minutes and with the Llandovery backs making handling and tackling mistakes, it was one-way traffic for the first quarter

Fly half Dorian Jones added a penalty before completely against the run of play Garland kicked a penalty at the end of Llandovery’s first attack of note.

It restored confidence and a sweeping movement was finished off by outstanding flanker and skipper Phil Day.

Garland’s conversion gave the Drovers an unlikely lead but it soon disappeared.

Jones - son of former Wales captain Kingsley Jones - kicked another penalty before Andrews scored a solo try from a standing start, slipping through very poor tackles to give Jones an easy conversion and secure an 18-10 interval lead.

After the break, Llandovery got cleaner possession in tight and loose and centre Craig Woodall dummied through early on.

Jones punished Llandovery fragility in the contact area with two penalties only for Drovers hooker Luke Lewis to burrow over and close the gap to just four points with 15 minutes left.

The game looked to be swinging Llandovery’s way but a prime attacking position was lost at a turnover.

It was a costly mistake and Keys cleared their lines before Keys replacement wing Elliott Jones kicked through in midfield and won the race for the touchdown in the last minute of normal time.

Llandovery just would not lie down and Garland jinked through for a converted try but only in the last action of the game to leave his side two points short of the winning draw.