Cardiff's roller-coaster season continued with what was, in the end, one of the good days. Shading the try count 4-3 in their favour, the Blue & Blacks at least went some way towards balancing out the two horrendous defeats on recent visits to Stradey Park. Llanelli racked up 37 points on both occasions so at least Cardiff can claim to have gone one point better on their home patch.
While there was no shortage of action, it was equally true that for long periods the game lacked structure as both sides were guilty of attempting to throw the ball around without any platform of set-piece possession or territory. An added ingredient was the vaudeville contribution of referee David Jones. After several games where the top Welsh referees helped everything flow with sympathetic use of the advantage law, we were back to the bad old days of close on 25 penalties and some utterly bizarre decisions that affected (or, arguably benefited) both sides in turn.
It was probably a coincidence that having awarded Cardiff a try when Ryan Howells' 'touchdown' was more akin to a bouncing bomb, Llanelli were then rewarded with a try when Daniel Evans was clearly held up on his back over the line – as the touch judge appeared to fruitlessly point out to Mr Jones.
C'est la vie. The teams deserve credit for their commitment to the attacking game, with Cardiff building up an impressive 20-3 lead at the interval thanks to tries from Garry Horrigan and Adam Powell and 10 points from the boot of Leigh Halfpenny. The pack had gone well with Gavin Lucas and Nick Hampson making the hard yards, James Down pinching several Llanelli throw-ins, and props Patrick Palmer and Scott Roberts getting around the field to great effect.
The good work continued after the restart, first with a swingeing break by Craig Evans and then Halfpenny's pace setting up the third try for Howells. Surely the fourth try and bonus point was just around the corner? Not quite. Thirty-three minutes passed, during which Llanelli scored three tries of their own through Rhys Williams, Dan Godfrey and Daniel Evans and at 27-20 after 66 minutes it was anyone's game.
But then Halfpenny slotted two more penalty goals and a clean break by the ever-threatening Gareth Chapman put Howells over for the crucial score on the brink of injury time. It was Cardiff's first four-try bonus point since the home win over Bedwas last December.