Fresh from Premiership Cup final win over Merthyr last Sunday, it was back to league work for the Drovers at the Talbot Athletic Ground, writes Huw S Thomas.


Needing at least 14 points from their next three Premiership games to ensure finishing top of the regular table – and a resulting home draw against fourth in the table - they got a vital bonus point win against the Wizards.

They will now need just nine more points from their remaining two home games against Swansea and Bridgend to claim top spot ahead of Newport.

Coach Euros Evans made no fewer than nine changes from the side that won the Premiership Cup, resting a number of front line players that included skipper and lock Jack Jones and fly half Ioan Hughes.

The gamble nearly failed as Aberavon pushed the defending champions to the end and got to within just three points of the winners in a tight final few minutes.

The highlight of the day was the counter attacking run of 19-year-old full back Macs Page to send in skipper and scrum half Lee Rees for the try that brought the Drovers the winning bonus point.

Rarely will you see such coruscating running from one so young as he left everyone for dead as he sprinted his way upfield to make defenders look like statues before offloading to the supporting Rees.

When wing Aaron Warren and centre Rhodri Jones got tries in the first quarter in movements all started by the quick thinking dancing feet of skipper Rees, the Drovers looked comfortable enough.

The Wizards responded in style and with No 8 Ashton Evans carrying hard and centres Joe Gage and Callum Carson probing in midfield, they came right back into the game.

A close range line-out worked in hooker Luke Davies for a try, well converted by ex-Drover James Davies, to make it 10-7 only for Llandovery to hit back in style.

Fast handling by the backs, quick recycling and hard carrying by the forwards – prop Dino Dallavalle to the fore - made deep inroads into the home defence, ending in lock Chris Long picking up from the back of a ruck to plunge over the line.

Fly half Jack Maynard’s conversion made it 17-7 at the break.

But Aberavon - orchestrated by fly half Davies - had the better of play and asked questions of the Llandovery defence.

Davies and Maynard swapped penalties before the influential Davies ran well to put in replacement scrum half Rhodri Cole with an inside pass.

The conversion brought Aberavon to within three points and with the line-out fragile, nerves began to jangle in the away ranks.

Then came the decisive blow when Page left an astounded defence in tatters as he slalomed upfield before slipping the scoring pass to Rees.

Bonus point secured, Maynard added the two points for a seemingly comfortable 27-17 position with eight minutes left on the clock.

No such thing, as the Wizards upped their game again and replacement centre Brad Roderick took advantage of shadow tackling to go in under the posts, Davies converting to again reduce the lead to just three points.

But Llandovery steadied the ship in a frantic end to a very hard earned but vital away win.