Drovers falls to Quins in play-off race

South Wales Guardian: TOUCHING DISTANCE: Shaun Miles scores for Llandovery but it was not enough to secure the Drovers maximum points as they suffered defeat at the hands of Carmarthen Quins. Pic: Rileysportsphotography (Gwenno Davies) TOUCHING DISTANCE: Shaun Miles scores for Llandovery but it was not enough to secure the Drovers maximum points as they suffered defeat at the hands of Carmarthen Quins. Pic: Rileysportsphotography (Gwenno Davies)

Principality Premiership

CARMARTHEN QUINS 15 LLANDOVERY 14

The Quins went through to the Premiership play-offs after the narrowest of wins against their old and fierce Towy Valley, rivals writes Huw S Thomas

As expected there was little to choose between the two sides but the Quins just about deserved the win which consolidated their second position in the Premiership.

If they beat Aberavon next week they will have home advantage over Cross Keys in the first play-off on May 10, the winners having the right to take on Pontypridd in the Premiership final at Sardis Road a week later.

As for the Drovers, it has been a bitterly disappointing fortnight, losing by two points to Cross Keys in the Swalec Cup semi-final and now beaten by a solitary point to squash any chance of a play-off spot

In a helter skelter of a frenetic game which contained two red cards, two yellow cards and 17 minutes of injury time, the Quins were the more fluent and adventurous but could never get away from brave and gritty opponents in the image of skipper and flanker Phil Day.

"Neither side played well as there was so much on the result," said Quins coach and former Drovers lock Louie Tonkin.

"We did just enough but found the Llandovery defence hard to break down and we were sweating near the end when they had two minutes left to rob us of the win."

Losing coach Lyndon Lewis blamed the defeat and last week's Swalec Cup setback against Cross Keys at the multitude of unforced errors.

"Our fault has been the inability to hold on to the ball in prime situations but it has been a good season with half the side newcomers to the Premiership so we cannot be too disappointed."

The Quins with full back Lee Williams in sparkling counter attacking form led 12-7 at the break, tries from ex Llandovery centre Rhys Williams and wing Chris Banfield shading one from flanker Shaun Miles.

Fly half Craig Evans kicked a long penalty but when Wales 7s flanker James Davies was red carded for kneeing Craig Woodall, the Drovers upped the tempo.

It was all hands to the Carmarthen pump but a very bad tempered fracas in which Llandovery lost replacements scrum half Gareth Rees (red) for stamping along with flanker Richard Bloomfield (yellow) and Quins lost lock Haydn Pugh (yellow) evened up the numbers.

Llandovery wing Lee Evans then squeezed in at the corner with two minutes remaining, Ian Brooks converting from wide out to set up a nerve jangling finale.

But time ran out after an extraordinary 97 minutes play to leave the Quins top dogs in the West with more chance of glory to come.

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