2005/2006 Konica Minolta Cup
Cardiff 10 v 0 Llandovery
01 April 2006 - Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff

Match Report

Cardiff 10 Llandovery 0

Now is the time to salute great deeds. Cardiff chose All Fools Day to put their Premiership worries behind them and to regain some of their reputation as great cup warriors of the past.

Perhaps it was the timely reminder of cup triumphs of yesteryear so vividly recounted in the match programme; perhaps, simply, the sheer bloodymindedness of Nick Macleod's team that, whatever the remaining Premiership campaign holds in store, the cup still held some glory in waiting for the Blue & Blacks.

Whatever, a windy sunlit afternoon at Cardiff Arms Park proved the perfect stage for everyone to regain a spring in their step. It was no points extravaganza. The Drovers, with the strong wind at their backs in the first half, failed to score. The Blue & Blacks tackled and tackled and,crucially, didn't concede a penalty within goalkicking distance.

The Drovers were visibly frustrated. Into the second half the pattern changed. Now Cardiff attacked and didn't score. Llandovery defended - but continued to serve up goalkicking opportunities to Macleod. He missed with his first two from 40 and 35 metres. Then along came his third, again from 40 metres, in the 65th minute. This time he succeeded. Points were at last on the scoreboard; Cardiff were at last ahead.

Heroes were already emerging. Gareth Gravell again proving the iron man of the pack; Rhys Gill more than coping with the scrummaging power of half-time replacement Dorian Williams; Chris Stamatakis increasingly pinching Llandovery lineout throws. And Chris Anderson, a born-again scrum-half.

Anderson was indeed the ultimate hero. For 75 minutes he spun out passes to Macleod to his heart's content. And then he struck. From a scrum 35 metres out he gratefully accepted James Malpas' back row flip and raced past two unsuspecting defenders, drew the last man, and sent Elgan Jones over for his fourth try in the last five matches. Macleod's unerring conversion from wide out settled the result.

Cardiff's joy at the final whistle was obvious for all to see. And why not, too? The team has had many setbacks, several disappointments and too many defeats snatched from the jaws of victory. A good cup run will hopefully spin over into Premiership survival as well.

Onward they go. They deserved better than a paltry home crowd of, officially, 717. A semi-final on neutral ground might yet tempt out the more reluctant supporters. Let's hope so.