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SWALEC WRU National League Division 3 South East Saturday 22nd October 2011

Aberdare 17 - Brecon 20

The story of the season so far for Brecon has been one of missed opportunities. In four of their previous seven league fixtures they have worked themselves into winning positions only for them to let the games slip from their grasp. At Aberdare there was a distinct possibility that their inability to close out a game would once again deny them. Having built up an excellent 17 point lead in a wind assisted first half. They gave away two converted tries in the early stages of the second. This time, however, Brecon showed greater maturity and held on for an encouraging three point away win.

For a good contingent of supporters it wasn’t a comfortable ride to the final whistle. Even with the last play of the game Brecon gave their opponents a sniff of victory. Leading by just three points Brecon had a line out on their 22. A safe catch and clearance to touch was all that was needed. Instead they went for a long throw to the back of the line in a difficult wind. The ball curved off the straight line and with the referee playing advantage, Aberdare claimed the possession. Fortunately for Brecon the excellent back row of Tom Daley, Osian and Wyn Davies halted the home team’s progress and stole the ball thus allowing Rob Price to clear to touch and seal an excellent result for the young Brecon team.

While the team are undoubtedly young and inexperienced congratulations at the end of the match were reserved for its veteran member. Hugh Morgan came out of retirement to cover for a raft of injuries in the front row. His willingness to help out proved to be invaluable as he helped secure the scrum against much bigger opponents. That stable scrum gave Tom Daley, at Number 8, a welcome, stable platform and he made the most of the clean possession with a number of great breaks off the back of the scrum.

While the back row players have received plaudits for their commitment throughout the season it was the backs that first gave Brecon the lead with an outstanding try. The move started just outside the 22 when Richard Andrews fielded a long kick. He showed pace on the counter and when halted on the home ten metre line he offloaded to full back Owen Morgan who had worked hard to be in a position to support. Owen stepped in field and fed outside half Eifion Jones. Eifion stepped between two players and handed off the final attempt at a tackle before sprinting the remaining 22 metres to score under the posts and present Gari Davies with the easiest of conversions.

It wasn’t long before Brecon extended their lead. Rob Price broke from his own 22 and was only just hauled down on the visitors 22. Aberdare desperately killed the ball at the break down and Gari Davies comfortably converted the penalty.

The game then entered a critical phase. Second row Danny Howe was shown a yellow card for being offside at a ruck. Aberdare picked up their game and if Owen Morgan had not pulled off a great tackle in the corner Brecon would have been facing a very difficult period while one man down and with a reduced lead. His efforts were doubly rewarded when after clearing their lines Brecon scored their second try.

Eifion Jones showed great vision and execution when he spotted a gap behind the onrushing defence. His chip over the top was beautifully weighted and centre Gari Davies was first to the ball. He hacked on past the full back and with the line approaching the Eifion Jones gathered the ball and dotted it down between the posts. Gari Davies again converted.

Brecon maintained their 17 point advantage until half time thanks to one magnificent Osian Davies tackle deep in the 22 and an excellent counter ruck which produced a turn over and allowed Brecon to clear.

The start of the second half was disastrous. Now facing the wind Brecon needed to keep their 17 point lead for as long as possible and force Aberdare to chase the game. From the kick off that scenario went out of the window. Aberdare kicked off and bizarrely not one of the Brecon pack moved to claim the ball which fell uncontested into opposition hands. The ball was moved wide and a ruck formed near the Brecon line. Forward surges were repelled but when the ball was moved into mi-field, centre Alun Morris cut between two defenders and scored. Steve Roberts converted.

This early setback seemed to disturb Brecon’s confidence and from being well in control of the game they suddenly stared to lose their composure and organisation. Aberdare created another chance to cut the lead but when a clear overlap was spurned as a player cut inside the danger seemed over. Unhappily for Brecon Aberdare showed good patience and continuity through a number of phases. Inevitably the stretched defence was finally breached when hooker Dylan Sullivan crossed for a try which Roberts again converted.

Now with only a three point cushion and with Aberdare’s confidence rising Brecon needed to re-group. Previously this season they have been unable to do that but on this occasion they managed to re-gain some of the structure that was evident in the first half. Gari Davies slotted a penalty and although Roberts replied, Brecon held out comfortably until the final nerve jangling moments.

The final whistle signalled a well deserved and very welcome first away victory of the season.





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