The Blue & Blacks maintained their unbeaten start to the season with a storming finish at Church Bank. After trailing 10-nil at the interval it took 79 minutes for them to nose ahead thanks to another deadly kicking display by Craig Evans and then celebrated with two classic back row tries in injury time.
It was hard luck on Llandovery, who once again proved themselves the most hospitable of clubs, doing everything possible to make the coach load of Cardiff fans welcome. Off the field, with their extensive site, profit making management and excellent food and drink facilities in the clubhouse, they are a model Premiership outfit. On it they remain doughty opponents and deserved their half-time lead. At that stage the Blue & Blacks had proved worryingly ineffective despite a surfeit of possession and territorial domination. The Drovers gave them an object lesson in how to take any points-scoring opportunity that came along.
On the half-hour Owain Rowlands sidestepped beautifully off the right wing to leave a flat-footed covering defence for dead and a try converted by Richard Cunliffe When the fly-half added a 35-metre penalty goal seven minutes later Tristan Davies’ side needed an urgent wake-up call. That almost certainly arrived in the confines of the dressing room during the break. Cardiff dominated the second half and this time remembered to regularly post points on the board. Evans was having an armchair ride at fly-half and sent several towering kicks into the home ‘22’. Soon the penalties arrived and he slotted successful goals from 20 and 35 metres in the 44th and 60th minutes.
Llandovery were still hanging on in there until Evans produced one of his party pieces in the 69th minute. The side were down to 14 men after Dan McShane had been sin-binned for killing the ball but, crucially, Cunliffe had failed to convert the resulting penalty attempt from wide out. Evans’ response was perfect. The pack charged on from a tapped free kick and the ball was fed back for him to boom over an outrageous dropped goal from near half-way. Now it was 10-9 and the Drovers were visibly tiring.
Finally, in the 79th minute they were caught offside in midfield as Cardiff attacked from a ruck. From 25-metre range there was little doubt that Evans would complete his hat-trick of penalties.
Still there was a possibility of a Llandovery response reminiscent of their cup final heroics four months ago. Not this time: the Blue & Blacks’ pack were in no mood to surrender their hard won lead. From a catch and drive McShane peeled away down the blind-side touchline and found Adam Powell with a perfect inside pass for the number 8 to gallop over. From the restart the Drovers gained a lineout in the visitors’ half. But their throw-in went straight to Gary Horrigan at the back of the lineout and his quick feed sent Adam Whitney racing away from halfway for another try. Evans, of course, converted both.