Title-chasing Drovers surge to eight-try win

The Drovers proved too strong for Llanelli at Church Bank, scoring eight tries in a 54-19 win  to maintain their push for the Indigo Premiership title.

To their credit, Llanelli’s young side never gave up on the uphill task of taking on the outstanding Drovers and finished well with two tries to give some respectability to the scoreline.

It was ironic that two former Llanelli players were the leading lights in the home win.

Hooker Craig Thomas, who spent five seasons with Llanelli, grabbed a hat-trick of close range tries, taking advantage of driving mauls from the line-out to crash through three times.

The other was fly-half Ioan Hughes, younger brother of Dragons centre Steff Hughes, who played with calm and confident assurance, kicked beautifully ball in hand and distributed smartly.

The game was effectively over by half-time after the Drovers had established a 47-7 lead , scoring seven tries with full-back Jack Maynard converting six of them.

Llanelli could not live with the high tempo set by backs and forwards alike, the speed of execution opening big gaps in the defence.

All eight replacements were quickly used up by Llandovery in the second half which gave Llanelli  the breathing space to hold their own and even score two late tries to go away with some semblance of pride.

Llandovery were 7-0 up inside a minute when 18-year-old Scarlets Academy centre Macs Page sliced through the middle and run in from 40 metres on his home debut. 

Centre Rhodri Jones soon added another to make it 14-0 but Llanelli hit back with a try of their own, centre Tom Davies squeezing over after a short range line-out, converted by stand-in fly half Harri Williams

Hughes and Maynard brought it to 21-7 which soon became 28-7 with hooker Craig Thomas’s burrowing effort.

With the Drovers in complete control of the ball, the ever present Thomas got two tries for his hat-trick to stretch the lead even further.

Wing Aaron Warren was soon worked clear by Jones to cross for his 100th try for the club to make it 47-7 at the break.

A penalty try at a collapsed scrum brought further pain to Llanelli, but the visitors refused to throw in the towel. Home flanker Lloyd Pike was yellow carded 10 minutes from time and with the advantage of a strong wind, Llanelli at last put together some cohesive attacks.

Llanelli’s best forward, hard-working flanker Nathan Hart and replacement forward Rhys Cherry took their chance to get late tries but the game had long been decided before then.

Llandovery – Tries: C Thomas (3), M Page, R Jones, I Hughes, Aaron Warren, pen try; Cons: J Maynard (6)

Llanelli – Tries; T Davies, N Hart, R Cherry. Cons: H Williams (2)