Honours go to Llanelli in rain-affected derby
LLANELLI gained the bragging rights in the West Wales Principality Premiership derby to leapfrog Carmarthen Quins into fourth in the table.
Second-half tries from Scarlets wing Dale Ford and centre Chris Keenan sealed the points for the home side in an error-strewn contest played in testing conditions at Parc y Scarlets.
In fairness, both sides attempted to play rugby in the midst of some torrential downpours, but poor handling blighted the contest.
It was the Quins who started the livelier, playing with the confidence of a side who had moved into fourth spot on the back of a four-match unbeaten run.
Some slick passing stretched the home side early on, but Llanelli claimed a crucial turnover on their own line to clear the danger.
Fly-half Diggy Bird struck the upright with a penalty attempt as the 2011 champions looked to impose themselves, but handling, unsurprisingly, was proving difficult on a skiddy surface.
Quins No. 10 James Dixon was given an opportunity to put his side on the board with 20 minutes gone, but he pulled his attempt wide, before Bird awakened the scoreboard operator with a 45-metre strike two minutes later.
With Quins enjoying plenty of possession and territory, Dixon deservedly brought his side level just before the half-hour mark, but that was as good as it got for the visitors.
A touchline burst from flying Llanelli wing Kyle Evans led to Quins being reduced to 14 men when hooker Ricky Guest was adjudged to have killed the ball at the breakdown.
However, the home side were unable to press home their numerical advantage.
Impressive No. 8 Ed Price went close to claiming the game's first try, but Llanelli had to be content with a second Bird penalty to give them a 6-3 advantage at the break.
As conditions deteriorated so did the standard of play as both sides coughed up ball regularly.
But when Llanelli did manage to put together a string of passes, the try eventually came.
Bird made the initial break, and with the Quins defence struggling to cover, Ford, who had come off his wing into midfield, was put into space and showed good strength to ride the tackle and touch down.
Bird's successful conversion made it 13-3 and suddenly there was distance between the sides.
The Quins were gaining dominance at the scrum but their handling let them down far too often to create any sort of pressure.
And Llanelli made the game safe with 10 minutes remaining when centre Keenan cut a brilliant line 10 metres out to scythe through the Quins defence.
Bird's conversion made it 20-3, with the Quins claiming a late consolation with a try from replacement Chris Banfield as Llanelli found themselves reduced to 13 men in the dying minutes.