Wanderers inform centre James Thomas.
Photographer: Alyn Humphreys
Glamorgan Wanderers 32
“Bonus point victories in this division are difficult to come by, so we’re more than happy to take this one” commented a happy coach Richard Hodges after his Wanderers side gained their first league win since January. On a bright sunny afternoon at the Memorial ground the Wanderers, with a strong breeze in their favour, looked dangerous from the start. On their second use of the ball Mark Roper set his backs free. A loose pass in midfield seemed to unsettle the defence and wing Josh Hannam ran in from 30 metres to open the scoring. James Thomas converted. Llandovery responded but, as they found all afternoon, the home side defence was very solid and they were reduced to a drop goal attempt which went wide. Back came the Wanderers, Roper put in a little chip over the defence and when the defence failed to deal with the threat the home side were awarded a kickable penalty. Instead of taking the points the Wanderers went for the lineout option and it proved decisive as Ben Rose found himself at the bottom of the maul when it crashed over to give the Wanderers a second try. Thomas converted again to give the home side a 14-0 lead. Within a couple of minutes they were further ahead when Rhys Jones stepped up to kick a penalty from 48 metres following a ruck offence by the visitors. The Wanderers were dominating the early exchanges, looking dangerous with ball in hand and solid in defence. The Drovers had little to show for their efforts. After 24 minutes the game was already beyond Llandovery’s reach when James Thomas kicked a penalty after the visitors tried to run out of defence only to be caught offside at a kick. The Wanderers lead 20-0. After half an hour Llandovery did eventually hit back with a try from Mark De Marigny. A driving lineout, following 2 penalty offences, presented the flanker with the opportunity to crash over in the corner. The try was superbly converted by Gareth Morgan from the touchline. More or less immediately the Wanderers responded. Centre James Thomas, with a man of the match performance, pounced on a loose ball in midfield to sprint 50 metres for a try which he converted himself. In first half injury time Llandovery had something else to cheer as Gareth Bennett reduced the arrears with a try wide out following a midfield break and driving maul but the Wanderers went into the break 27-12 ahead.
The Wanderers shuffled their side at half time moving Rhys Jones up to 10 and bringing Lee Highgate on in the back row. Llandovery saw an early penalty chance go wide but they were getting plenty of possession. The Wanderers increased their lead on 52 minutes after an overthrown lineout was picked up by Rhys Jones. His break was supported by Lee Highgate who drove into the Drovers 22. Quick ball presented Lloyd Williams with his chance and he darted through the defence to score from 20 metres. Thomas missed the conversion but the home side had their bonus point in the bag. Both sides started to ring the changes but despite plenty of ball the visitors failed to make any real inroads into the Wanderers defence. Time after time their forwards resorted to close quarter drives only to be held up by some poor handling and the dogged home side tackling. The Wanderers were reduced to hitting the visitors on the break and on one occasion a superb break out with Keith Stewart, Craig Morris and Mike Grimes handling well they took play from under their own posts up to the half way. Quick ball gave the backs a chance but a try scoring opportunity was stopped by a forward pass. On another occasion Lee Highgate intercepted a pass, he galloped 50 metres only to hit an imaginary wall inside the Llandovery 22 and possession was lost. The game ended with Llandovery attacking but as with most of the day the Wanderers were in control and they took a deserved victory 32-12
Author: Alyn Humphreys
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