NOTTINGHAM'S first ever trip to Llandovery, for their
opening British and Irish Cup fixture, ended in disappointment as
the Welsh Principality Premiership leaders withstood a late
fight-back to win 28-21.
The Green and Whites made a total of 11 changes to the side
which beat Jersey a week earlier, handing a debut to Cyprus
international Luke Frixou.
Finlay Barnham skippered the side, and was partnered at half
back by Rory Lynn. Matt Shields, Scott Wright and Joe Quinn came
into the pack, with Jack Bradford getting a run out at centre
alongside Joe Cobden.
Although the Nottingham pack had the measure of their hosts,
they struggled to convert that into points.
The Welsh backs showed plenty of pace and creativity, whilst
their defence in the final stages was particularly impressive.
The home side almost took the lead when centre Jack Roberts
broke through, only for supporting full back Lee Rees to knock on.
But they kept play in the Nottingham half and winger Chris Knight's
chip-and-chase saw him touch down.
Knight very nearly grabbed a second in similar circumstances,
before a penalty from Lynn got the visitors back in the game as the
pack began to pressurise the home defence.
But Nottingham then had to manage without Jack Cobden when he
was sin-binned for a deliberate knock on, Cerith Rees slotting over
And the Drovers made their numerical advantage count when No.8
Luke Kendall forced his way over, Rees adding the conversion to
make it 15-3.
The Nottingham pack looked the stronger though, and Alex Shaw
kept up his fine scoring record with a try in the corner, Lynn off
target with his conversion effort.
A long-range penalty from Rees gave the home side an 18-8 lead
at the break.
A couple of penalties from Lynn saw Nottingham get within a few
points as the pack dominated possession, only for Rees to peg them
back with another good kick.
But the more inventive Llandovery backs ran the ball well when
they had the chance and a fine solo effort from Roberts, converted
by Rees, put them back in control at 28-14.
As Nottingham threw everything into attack Joe Cobden finally
broke through for a late try, which Lynn converted, but some heroic
defence from the Welsh side secured a deserved win.