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Breconshire County Cup - Saturday 27th August 2011
John Jeffreys Trophy - Round 1

Brecon 19 - Abercraf 15

Both Brecon and Abercrave concluded their warm up to the new season with a competitive and entertaining Cup match. The county sides have played one another relatively frequently since the inception of the Cup Competition in 2003. On each occasion the game has been a close encounter with the spoils being relatively evenly matched. This first round encounter maintained that history.

As current John Jeffreys Trophy holders, Abercrave came to Brecon in confident mood, especially on the back of an excellent win the previous week in the Swansea Valley Cup. Brecon on the other hand were an unknown quantity featuring a number of new players and sporting an average age of 23. What developed was an interesting contest with the result remaining in doubt right up to the final whistle. Abercraf started the game well and certainly had command of the first quarter. Brecon wrestled that command away from their opponents during the middle half before Abercraf reasserted themselves in the final quarter. During this period they drew to within just one point of the home side before a final penalty kick secured the win for Brecon.

The game was a good advert for the Cup and was certainly an ideal warm up before the commencement of league games next Saturday. For Brecon in particular it was interesting to see how new their new recruits would fair. All had good games with second row Tom Bucknell probably being the stand out player. His line out work was excellent and in tight and loose he worked hard against a side which possessed a much bigger and more experienced front five. The fact that Brecon’s backs played behind a retreating scrum didn’t make life easy but Dylan Green at outside half looked assured and played soundly throughout. Wing Richard Andrews also worked hard to get himself into the game and showed promise.

Of the more established Brecon players Rob Price stood out for the amount of work he put in. His tackling and covering were excellent and he always posed a threat to the opposition. Tom Daley carried on from where he left off last season and with his other back row colleagues, Wyn Davies and Ross Parry, he grafted spoiled and tackled all afternoon. In the early phases where Abercrave dominated territory and possession their contribution was invaluable.

During that time Abercraf deserved more than just the three points they earned through the boot of Bradley Williams. However after surviving the onslaught Brecon suddenly created an opportunity and they took it in style. Prop Mike Chappelle started the movement when he pounced on a loose ball and popped it up to scrum half Rob Price. Rob made the break and beautifully timed his pass to flanker Ross Parry. Ross had and easy run in to the line and Gari Davies’ conversion was made easy.

This score changed the pattern of the game. Brecon now looked sharp and created a number of opportunities which they failed to convert. From full back Owen Morgan countered on a number of occasions and his namesake Eurin looked dangerous in the centre but too often the final pass was delayed and opportunities were spurned. Ultimately it was left to the reliable boot of Gari Davies to put points on the board as he added two penalties.

Then on the stroke of half time, Brecon’s ten point lead was cut to three. Having defended well for the first 39 minutes Brecon were suddenly split in midfield as centre Carwyn Owen carved through a huge gap in the defence with a powerful run back on the angle. His excellent try was converted by Williams.

The early phases of the second half proceeded as had the previous quarter. Brecon looked lively but the only score they registered was a third Gari Davies penalty. By not pulling away at this point they gave Abercrave the opportunity to get back into the game. Intense pressure on the Brecon line seemed certain to provide a score but as in the first quarter Brecon’s defence was solid and just when it seemed that they were about to lift the siege Abercrave struck. Winning a line out just outside the home 22 they spread the ball wide and the lovely passing movement ended with Carwyn Owen scoring his second try. The conversion would have given Abercrave the lead but with Williams injured and the kick from a wide angle it was asking a lot. The miss brought relief to the home side and they finally closed the game out with a fourth Davies penalty.







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