Swansea fell to an eleventh successive league defeat at Parc Y Scarlets but will be encouraged by an outstanding second half comeback that very nearly saw the men in white snatch an unlikely victory.
The home side took an early lead when lock Tomas Vallejos sent former All White Johnny Lewis bursting through the middle only for the visitors’ defence to step offside in midfield. Fly half Owen Williams kicked the resulting penalty goal.
It took the Whites only four minutes to reply with a penalty of their own when the home front row turned in at the scrum. Sam Davies, son of Llanelli legend Nigel Davies, converted his shot at goal.
The first Llanelli try came against the run of play when centre Nic Reynolds intercepted a loose pass and raced clear to score under the posts. Williams converted.
Swansea scrum half Aled Lewis tried to make a quick break from a ruck but was tackled from an offside position. Davies was successful with his penalty attempt to cut the deficit to four points.
Full back Dion Jones came close to scoring in the corner after a good build up involving Daniel Thomas, but he dropped the ball at the crucial moment. Winger Dale Ford had an opportunity to extend his side’s lead after the Whites’ forwards drove into a ruck offside, but his effort at goal from half way was off target.
Impressive number eight Craig Price bulldozed his way through two tackles before a desperate Whites defence killed the ball. Williams added three points. Swansea hit back immediately with a Davies penalty goal when centre Nicky Harwood raced through the middle and forced Llanelli offside in midfield.
The home side scored a second try before half time when Price burst through the middle and raced in to score under the posts after the defending Nicky J Thomas slipped over. Williams converted.
Davies hit the post with a penalty attempt on the stroke of half time when Nicky J Thomas was taken out dangerously.
Half-time:- Llanelli 20 Swansea 9
Llanelli began the second half in the same way they finished the first and winger Alec Jenkins was unlucky not to score in the corner when it took a last ditch tackle to prevent a certain try. Whites number eight Dan Baker was then yellow carded for taking a man out in the lineout.
The home side continued to dominate up front and after a well worked scrum five Ryan Jones swept the ball out wide for Reynolds to touch down for his second try. Williams missed his conversion attempt.
Good work by Harwood and Sam Kiley in midfield sparked an attack for the All Whites, and after the Llanelli forwards stepped offside at a ruck, Davies kicked his fourth penalty goal.
Prop Craig Cross was sin-binned for failing to roll away after a tackle and a minute later the visitors made him pay when a powerful rolling maul saw hooker Paul John score a try in the corner. Davies hit the post with his conversion attempt.
The visitors increased the intensity of their attacking play with Harwood and Aled Jenkins creating space in midfield, forcing the home side offside in midfield. Davies took a quick tap penalty and sent Kiley crashing over for a try. Davies converted to bring his side to within a point.
Swansea winger Rhys Williams was given a yellow card for a deliberate knock on, but Owen Williams failed to make him pay as he missed the resulting penalty. Then, Ryan Jones and Williams combined on the wing to set up an attack, but both Lewis and Price were held up short of the line. The Whites defence crept offside and Williams kicked a penalty goal to increase the lead to four points.
The visitors threw everything at Llanelli during the closing stages and Baker was held up a metre short but the move broke down and the home side were able to seal victory.
Full time:- Llanelli 28 Swansea 24
Star man: Craig Price
Referee: Neil Perkins
Tries:- Reynolds (10, 46), Price (39)
Cons:- Williams (11, 40)
Pens:- Williams (2, 33, 65)
Y cards:- Cross (54)
Tries:- John (55), Kiley (60)
Cons:- Davies (61)
Pens:- Davies (6, 13, 38, 49)
Y cards:- Baker (44), R Williams (62)
15 Dion Jones
14 Dale Ford
13 Nic Reynolds
12 Johnny Lewis © (rep: Steffan Hughes 66)
11 Alec Jenkins
10 Owen Williams
9 Ryan Jones (rep: Justin James 66)
1 Rhodri Jones
2 Tomos Wilson (rep: Greg George 71)
3 Craig Cross
4 Tomas Vallejos (rep: Joel Galley 9)
5 Nathan White
6 Lewis Rawlins
7 Daniel Thomas (rep: Duane Eager 65)
8 Craig Price
16 Tom Sloane
17 Greg George
18 Jamie Kaijaks
19 Joel Galley
20 Duane Eager
21 Diggy Bird
22 Justin James
23 Steffan Hughes
15 Nicky J Thomas
14 Nathan Brooks (rep: Jamie Thomas 65)
13 Aled Jenkins
12 Nicky Harwood
11 Rhys Williams
10 Sam Davies
9 Aled Lewis (rep: Jake Cole 69)
1 Nicky Smith (rep: Matthew Norman 78)
2 Paul John (rep: Ieuan Dobbs 71)
3 Ian Williams (rep: Nicky Thomas 69)
4 Ben Fox
5 Rhodri Hughes
6 James McKenna (rep: Rob Dudley-Jones 70)
7 James Bija
8 Dan Baker
16 Ieuan Dobbs
17 Matthew Norman
18 Nicky Thomas
19 John Barley
20 Rob Dudley-Jones
21 Jake Cole
22 Cameron Clement
23 Jamie Thomas
By Paul Hopkins