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By: Paul Hopkins
The All Whites’ end of year celebrations didn’t go according to plan after they were comfortably defeated by Llandovery, who qualified for the Premiership top eight.
Despite a strong start by the visitors, it was the Drovers who took control either side of half time, outscoring their opponents by six tries to two.
In fact, Swansea took the lead after just two minutes when the Drovers’ pack killed the ball. Fly half Jac Wilson kicked the penalty goal.
The home side looked to hit back when lock Phil Day charged upfield for his pack to form a ruck. Centre Richard Smith made a half break, but a loose pass was picked up by winger Andrew Claypole, who sprinted clear from his own twenty-two to score. Wilson converted.
Llandovery winger Aaron Warren collected a nicely weighted crossfield kick and found Smith in support, but the centre was dragged into touch by the defending Wilson.
The home side got their first try when fly half Jack Maynard made a break and offloaded in the tackle to centre Rhodri Jones, who handed a scoring pass to winger Corey Baldwin. Maynard missed the conversion.
Both sides made plenty of handling errors, but Drovers number eight Joe Powell took control and charged over half way, with prop Peter Edwards in support. However slow ball meant the All Whites could regroup and they forced a knock on.
When flanker Stuart Worrall won good lineout ball just five metres from the line, the pack mauled him forward, but he was held up over the whitewash.
The immense pressure by the home side soon told though when they got the ball quickly out of a scrum with full back Lee Rees dancing through the twenty-two and sending Smith over for a try under the posts. Maynard converted.
Baldwin used his pace and power to cross the twenty-two and the Drovers spread the ball out to the other wing with Warren sprinting towards the line. He tried to throw a scoring pass to a supporting player but visitors’ scrum half Martin Luckwell prevented him from doing so by tapping the ball down, earning him a yellow card and giving referee Simon Mills no option but to award a penalty try. Maynard converted.
Hooker Paul John picked up the ball from the restart and rampaged over the twenty-two, forcing Llandovery offside in midfield. Wilson duly converted the penalty.
On the stroke of half time the home side secured a bonus point when Powell made a break from half way and found Baldwin on his shoulder, who did the rest to score. Maynard converted.
Half-time:- Llandovery 26 Swansea 13
Llandovery were effectively out of sight just seconds after the interval when Baldwin used his power to run past three tacklers to score his hat trick try in the corner. Maynard converted.
When number eight Rory Gallagher was penalised for holding on after the tackle, Maynard opted to kick to the corner. However, replacement lock Adam Thresher won a lineout against the head, which meant the visitors could clear.
Swansea tried their best to conjure up an attack and had to settle for attempting to run out of defence. However, when Wilson tried to do this, Smith ripped the ball out of his hands and sent prop Dean Howells over for a try. Maynard converted.
The impressive Baldwin then made another break on the wing and found Day in support, who battered his way across the twenty-two. Scrum half Rhodri Davies tried to go on his own, but was caught in possession and gave away a penalty.
The All Whites grabbed a consolation try when replacement centre Lee Edgecombe made a superb break in midfield, but was stopped on the try line, only for substitute flanker Gavin Ronan to pick up and dive over to score. Replacement fly half Rory Garrett missed the conversion.
Wilson, back on as a blood replacement, embarked on another attack for the Whites and he found Ronan in support, but replacement hooker Jack Cambriani lost the ball over the line.
Next up for Llandovery is a trip to Llanelli, while Swansea travel to Neath.
Full-time:- Llandovery 40 Swansea 18
Tries:- Corey Baldwin (15, 40+4, 41), Richard Smith (30), Penalty try (38), Dean Howells (56)
Cons:- Jack Maynard (31, 39, 40+5, 42, 57)
Tries:- Andrew Claypole (7), Gavin Ronan (71)
Cons:- Jac Wilson (8)
Pens:- Jac Wilson (2, 40)
Yellow cards:- Martin Luckwell (38)
Venue:- Church Bank, Llandovery
Referee:- Simon Mills
Weather:- Light rain, 9C
Man of the match:- Corey Baldwin
15 Lee Rees (rep: Mike Evans 43)
14 Corey Baldwin
13 Richard Smith
12 Rhodri Jones (rep: Craig Woodall 56)
11 Aaron Warren
10 Jack Maynard (rep: James Davies 56)
9 Rhodri Davies
1 Dean Howells (rep: Berian Williams 65)
2 Ryan Williams (rep: Matthew Moore 56 (rep: Jamie Hughes 65))
3 Peter Edwards
4 Bryn Griffiths (rep: Richard Rees 59)
5 Phil Day ©
6 Stuart Worrall (rep: Jake Baker 70)
7 Shaun Miles
8 Joe Powell
16 Berian Watkins
17 Jamie Hughes
18 Jake Baker
19 Richard Rees
20 Matthew Moore
21 Craig Woodall
22 Mike Evans
23 James Davies
15 Luke Griffiths
14 Andrew Claypole
13 Ryan Evans
12 Jedd Evans (rep: Lee Edgecombe 64)
11 Josh Jones
10 Jac Wilson (rep: Rory Garrett 66)
9 Martin Luckwell (rep: Mike Jones 70)
1 Tom Sloane (rep: Richard Murphy 18)
2 Paul John (rep: Jack Cambriani 70)
3 Mitchell Walsh (rep: Sam Martin 56)
4 Jon Fox (rep: Adam Thresher 41)
5 Jay Williams
6 Jon Vaughan © (rep: Gavin Ronan 70)
7 Jack Perkins
8 Rory Gallagher
16 Jack Cambriani
17 Richard Murphy
18 Sam Martin
19 Gavin Ronan
20 Adam Thresher
21 Mike Jones
22 Rory Garrett
23 Lee Edgecombe