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LATE FIGHT BACK TO LATE AS DROVERS AVENGE EARLIER DEFEAT.
LLANDOVERY 17 MERTHYR 14 (SATURDAY 29TH February 2020)
Llandovery leapfrogged the Ironmen into 4th place in the Indigo Premiership table and in doing so avenged an earlier defeat back in November at the Wern sports complex. In very blustery conditions with wind, rain, sleet and snow at times causing the playing conditions to become very heavy under foot. Llandovery played with elements in the first half and kept the ironmen under pressure with high kicks and only for good defence covering from prop Chris Phillips Llandovery would have opened the scoring. However, the Drovers were soon on the scoresheet when a fine break from centre Craig Woodall put fellow centre Kristian Jones in under the posts and with outside half Jack Maynard converting the Drovers led 7-0. Playing into the strong wind the Merthyr pack carried the ball well, with big carries from Captain Craig Locke, Number 8 Phil Rees and fellow back rowman Jake Thomas gaining valuable yards for the ironmen denying the Llandovery any possession. Maynard had two penalty opportunities to extend the home sides lead but the first going well wide, but on the stroke of half-time he kicked one straight in front of the posts to give the home side a slender 10-0 lead. Merthyr were more than content with score line at half time as it was their turn to use the strong wind in the second half. Llandovery shocked the ironmen early in the second half when centre Jones made a fine break in mid-field, drew Merthyr’s full back Matthew Jarvis to send scrum half Lee Rees in under the posts, Maynard converted to extend the Drovers lead 17-0. It was important that the Ironmen score next to get back into the game and the score came when a line out deep inside the Drovers 25 was driven forward by the Merthyr pack sending prop Chris Phillips over for the try, Jarvis converted to close the gap, 17-7. The score gave the ironmen confidence as they looked to close the gap with some big drives from the Merthyr forwards Rees, Locke Daley, and Phillips but the home defence held firm until late in the second half when a clean lineout win deep inside the Llandovery 25 saw replacement outside half Gareth Davies find centre Arron Pinches in space who then punched his way over the try line, Jarvis converted to make it a one score game 17-14. With time running out Merthyr threw everything at the drovers and only last ditch tackling from the home side preventing the all-important score, and the home side had weathered the second half storm to run out winners 17-14. Credit to both sides on trying to play rugby in poor playing conditions. For the ironmen credit to the pack well lead once again by Skipper Locke well supported by his fellow forwards, Rees, Thomas, Phillips, and Daley. Behind the scrum try scorer Pinches looked dangerous with ball in hand. Merthyr must put the disappointment of the defeat behind them as they welcome Pontypridd at home this Saturday for a 1:00 o’clock kick off, before the England v Wales International.
MERTHYR. 15 M Jarvis,14 C Czekaj, 13 H Thomson,12 A Pinches, 11 S Jones,10 R Davies,9 R Downes, 1 C Phillips, 2 R Williams,3 R Lewis,4 C Locke©, 5 J Down, 6 T Daley, 7 J Thomas, 8 P Rees, 16 S Evans,17 J Howe, 18 L Owen, 19 B Sier, 20 J Perkins,21 J James,22 G Davies, 23 L Lloyd. Scorers C Phillips 1t, A Pinches 1t, M Jarvis 2c.
Referee, Aled Evans.