Rees inspires Drovers triumph
6:30am Wednesday 11th April 2012 in Sport
PRINCIPALITY PREMIERSHIP Llandovery 23 Carmarthen Quins 12 LLANDOVERY won a typically hard-fought local derby to do the double over their Towy Valley rivals, writes Huw S Thomas.
They went back to the top of the table in front of a bumper crowd that included WRU president Dennis Gethin, his nephewand IRB commercial director Huw Morgan, Scarlets head of regional development and recruitment Gareth Jenkins and former world number one referee Clive Norling.
The Drovers impressed them all to stay in contention for a play-off spot with two games left – home to Swansea and away to Pontypridd.
There was little to choose between two sides that have produced outstanding rugby throughout the season, but Llandovery managed to edge it because of a purple patch of scoring either side of half time.
Both coaches – Lyndon Lewis (Llandovery) and Steve Williams (Quins) – agreed that the teams were evenly matched, with Williams brave enough to state that the Drovers took their chances more readily and kept their composure better. “We let our concentration slip for the first time in defence at a poorly-controlled scrum and Llandovery gobbled up the chance,” said the former Wales forward. “Our discipline then went andwewere suddenly 13 points adrift at the break when we could have so easily been ahead.
“Fair play to Llandovery, they turned the screw with ten more points and by the time we got ourselves together again, the game had slipped away.”
Lewis praised the all round contribution of the whole squad but gave a special mention to replacement fly half Cerith Rees, who came on in the 18th minute.
“James Garland has been playing well, but when he went off it was great to see Cerith use all his experience to stamp his authority on the game and play a major role in the win,” he said.
“We have two league games and the final of the Tovali Cup left to play and competition for places will be intense, but there is a great atmosphere within club and squad and everyone is ready to give their all.”
A finely balanced game was still scoreless after 37 minutes. If anything, the Quins looked more dangerous and won the lineouts hands down thanks to the great jumping of former Llandovery lock Haydn Pugh.
Then veteran scrum half Rob Walters underlined his value to Llandovery when he dispossessed opposite number Huw Rees at the back of a scrum and lock Matthew Harbut was swiftly in support to crash through a pile of tacklers.
Rees kicked the conversion before hitting a brace of penalties to make it 13-0 at the break. The second came after Quins and Scarlets fly half Aled Thomas had been yellow-carded for back chat to the referee Martyn Lewis.
Rees got a third penalty and then made a break to put centre Matthew Jacobs in for a try which he converted fromthe touch line.
At 23-0, it was all over for the Quins, but they rallied bravely with late tries from centre Jason Harries and Scarlets full back Dan Evans. The last home game of the season for the Drovers is on Tuesday (April 17), when they entertain Swansea (KO7 15 pm).