The Blue & Blacks knuckled down in great style at Church Bank this afternoon to subdue Llandovery and gain a vital first away win of the Principality Premiership campaign.
Flying wing Thomas James was again among the try-scorers, this time finishing with a touchdown in each half to take his season’s tally to eight in seven games since his full debut at Bridgwater. But it was the Cardiff pack that were the real heroes. Some might regard the front row trio of Gareth Gunter, Michael Leaman and Luke Hunter as second-choice behind the likes of the currently injured Rhys Gill, Johnston and Roberts but against the Drovers they were outstanding and will set Justin Burnell a welcome selection headache in weeks to come.
The physical home side were also made to measure for someone like Gavin Lucas and the uncompromising Rumney removals’ man made a formidable case for nomination as man-of-the-match. Yet it would be more appropriate for all eight of the starting pack to be lauded for their efforts. Playing against the strong wind in the second half they might have been forgiven for ceding second-best to Llandovery but the game never came down to that. Instead, the Blue & Blacks built on their slender 11-6 interval lead and it was deep in injury time, with the result long since established as a foregone conclusion, before the Drovers gained their solitary try.
It was barely 53 seconds into the game when Chris Anderson posted the first points with a straightforward penalty goal. James scored his first try in the 35th minute when he used his searing pace to full effect to chase a kick ahead and touchdown. Then Anderson dropped a goal in injury time to keep his side in the lead. The Drovers’ only points of the half had come from a couple of Simon Daniel penalties and though he added another after the break it was Gareth Gravell’s side that continued to score the tries.
Five minutes after the restart Anderson chip-kicked over the flat defence and Leon Andrews claimed the try. Barely had the travelling supporters had time to savour that score before James got in on the act again, using a neat break by Anderson to full effect. The fly-half’s conversion was the icing on the cake and the Drovers needed all of the considerable added time at the end for left wing Viv Jenkins to score their consolation try.