DROVERS SEE CUP BID END IN A THRILLER

Llanelli Star - - CUP RUGBY AND PRINCIPALI­TY PREMIERSHI­P -

LLAN­DOVERY’S bid for a third WRU Na­tional Cup tri­umph ended in a thriller at The Gnoll.

It is Cardiff who will get the op­por­tu­nity to end 22 years of hurt on April 28 after book­ing them­selves a place in the fi­nal.

The fa­mous old Arms Park club will pop next door again after de­feat­ing two-time for­mer cup win­ners Llan­dovery in a hugely en­ter­tain­ing semi­fi­nal.

Steve Law’s side will take their place at the Prin­ci­pal­ity Sta­dium when they bid to de­throne Merthyr and lift the cup for the eighth time, hav­ing not done so since 1997.

It will also be their first ap­pear­ance in the fi­nal for 12 years.

In what was a re­peat of the 2007 show­piece where Llan­dovery tri­umphed, tries from hooker and skip­per Joey Tom­lin­son — on his 100th ap­pear­ance — No. 8 Mor­gan Allen, fly-half Gareth Thompson and a brace from full-back Ed How­ley made sure it was the Blue and Blacks who pre­vailed this time.

“I’m over the moon for the play­ers, the coaches, the club, all the sup­port­ers and ev­ery­body in­volved with it,” said Law.

“It’s a mas­sive club steeped in his­tory and the boys did them proud.

“Llan­dovery were al­ways go­ing to play for 80 min­utes.

“They’ve got great skill sets and any chink in our set-up they took ad­van­tage of it.

“But I just thought we were com­fort­able win­ners by the end of it.

“They came back to eight points down at one stage but, even then, we looked like we were caus­ing our­selves prob­lems deep in their half and they cap­i­talised on them. I think we were de­served win­ners.”

This was a 12th straight win for Premier­ship and cup-dou­ble chas­ing Cardiff and a 13th from 14, a run that also in­cludes a draw with the Drovers. This was their first win over Llan­dovery in three at­tempts this sea­son.

Law added: “When we’re un­der pres­sure the boys are find­ing a way.

“That’s tes­ta­ment to the hard work that they put in through the week, they be­lieve in each other and be­lieve in what they are do­ing in train­ing and stick to it.”

Cardiff drew first blood in the fourth minute through Tom­lin­son, with the try con­verted by Gareth Thompson who soon added a penalty.

Jack May­nard kicked Llan­dovery on to the score­board but Cardiff were soon over again when wing Joe Gatt sent Allen through.

How­ley scored a third Cardiff try in the 22nd minute but Llan­dovery re­sponded through cen­tre Rho­dri Jones.

May­nard added the ex­tras to cut the gap to 20-10 at the break.

It was very nearly the per­fect start to the sec­ond half for Cardiff as Will Rees-Hole looked to have bro­ken a cou­ple of chal­lenges to force his way over be­fore los­ing con­trol of the ball, and then flanker Tom Da­ley was de­nied a try.

But they were over again five min­utes after the restart when How­ley touched down for his sec­ond try.

Back came the Drovers as scrumhalf Lee Rees ran through on 48 min­utes, with May­nard con­vert­ing to pull his side back to within just eight points.

Thompson’s sec­ond penalty put Cardiff 28-17 up be­fore Thompson made sure with an in­ter­cep­tion try in added time and he chipped the ex­tras to round things off.

Stuart Wor­rall of Llan­dovery is tack­led by Kieran Martin.

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