Cinderford 15 Llandovery 14
After beating Pontypridd the previous week, the Drovers went down to a surprise albeit narrow friendly defeat at the hands of English National One side Cinderford, writes Huw S Thomas
The friendly fixture between the two clubs started back in 2010 and this was the first time for Llandovery to lose against the Forest of Dean outfit.
Cinderford had lost to Bridgend 25-5 the week before but were vastly improved against the West Walians who were brave enough to give game time to nigh on 30 players, many of whom were making their first ever competitive appearance for the club.
Coach Lyndon Lewis was pleased with the opening 50 minutes at the end of which his side led 14-0 but then decided to blood a lot of promising youngsters.
A number of key players who were to be involved in the Fosters National Sevens at the Arms Park on Sunday had no more than 40 minutes on the field.
They made their early mark with tries from full back Mike Evans and centre Matthew Jacobs before they were yanked off as a precaution.
Scrum half Lee Rees – the best broken play runner on the field - ran brilliantly to set up the Evans try and a flowing quick-passing movement created a try for skipper Jacobs, converted by replacement fly half Steffan Marshall
The Drovers should have been far more ahead than 14 points but they spilled a number of chances within sight of the try line and when coach Lewis threw on some raw youngsters for the last half an hour, Cinderford gladly seized their chance.
A try from a driven line out for lock Matt Lane made it 14-5 before midfield mismatches let in back row Aaron Ryan for a try converted by replacement Charlie Norman.
Llandovery ignored a straight 30 metre penalty in favour of a line out but crucially lost their own throw to give Cinderford the chance to launch a flowing attack.
Desperate defence slowed down the ball – illegally – and Norman slotted the winning penalty with two minutes to go.
The Drovers had one last chance to snatch the game out of the fire when they ran the ball from behind their own goal line and only desperate home cover stopped wing Joe Morgan from setting up the winning score.
Llandovery host Llanelli in the British and Irish Cup qualifier at Church Bank this Saturday (KO 2 30).The winners will play off against Carmarthen Quins on September 6 to decide who will represent the Scarlets region in this year’s competition