A bath full of a praise for Drovers
8:00am Friday 31st August 2012 in Sport
Bath United 10 Llandovery 6
THE Drovers were denied a famous victory at the Recreation Ground when a late Lee Rees try was overruled for a forward pass, writes Huw S Thomas.
A Bath side – made up of experienced players and top Academy products – had confidently expected an easy ride in the first ever fixture between the two clubs, but were sporting enough to admit their good fortune.
Coach Brad Davies was the first to acknowledge it, along with Bath president Allen Gay, who has recently moved house to Llanwrda and who was instrumental in getting the fixture played.
“How on earth we got away with that will remain a mystery!” said Davies “Wewere second best in most departments and it was only heroic defence and our competitiveness in the contact area that snatched the win.
“I thought Llandovery outstanding – well coached, with a good set piece, skilful fit and athletic and I take my cap off to them.”
Llandovery coaches Lyndon Lewis and Euros Evans sawtheir charges play most of the attacking football, but anguished at the result.
“We had three clear-cut chances in the game to get the one try that would have got us home,” groaned Lewis.
Prop Craig Cross grounded the ball over the line, but the referee only saw the ball squirt out of his grasp; a last - ditch tap tackle on wing Lee Rees foiled a brilliant run, and; the forward pass from centre Matthew Jacobs to Rees was a cruelly marginal decision.
In a curtain-raiser to the Bath v Cardiff Blues game, it was the Drovers who played the more attractive rugby in the wet conditions, in front of an appreciative 3,000 crowd which later swelled to 5,000.
Bath were happy enough to kick for position and put up towering up-andunders, while Llandovery moved the ball readily left and right, to put the home defence under pressure.
The Llandovery Achilles heel, however, was the contact area, where Bath bulk and weight deprived waiting attackers quick ball in prominent positions.
Fitness-wise and skill-wise, the Drovers were equal to their opponents, but they were too often bustled off the ball by Bath defenders on or near the try line.
In a hard-fought first half, two penalties from fly half Cerith Rees were trumped by a penalty try and five points from the boot of twice-capped England full back Sam Vesty, but it was all Llandovery after the break.
But the try would not come, to the frustration of some outstanding Llandovery performers.
Lee Rees, centre Jack Roberts, scrum half Rhodri Williams, props Owen Evans and Craig Cross, lock Shaun Jones and back rowers Luke Kendall and Shaun Miles looked class players in class company, but the whole squad played well to a man and the coaches will face a difficult task in selecting the side that will take on Cardiff at the Arms Park this Saturday.