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SWALEC WRU National League Division 3 South East Saturday 3rd March 2012

Brecon 19 - Fairwater 7

Brecon resumed league competition after a break of seven weeks. Their only match during that period was a friendly against Caerphilly and although they gained an emphatic win in that match they entered the game against Fairwater uncertain of how they would fair after such a long period of inactivity. The incentive to put in a good performance was certainly there. Fairwater held fifth position in the league just one place and five points ahead of Brecon. In the previous match in Fairwater the home team edged a win by 25 points to 21 and so Brecon had a point to prove.

Disappointingly, after a period of dry warm weather, the conditions for the match were not helpful. Heavy showers and a blustery wind hardly encouraged expansive play and probably favoured the Fairwater side which has made good progress in the league mainly through a powerful pack of forwards.

Playing into the wind, Brecon started brightly. As always the back row of Tom Daley, Osian Davies and Wyn Davies were prominent from the kick off. They combined well and created a penalty opportunity for Brecon. Into the wind and with conditions slippery under foot Gari Davies just failed to give Brecon the early lead they deserved. While Gari failed to show his usual consistency kicking the dead ball, out of hand he kicked beautifully and had a very good all round game. His co-centre Rob Price also played well in an unfamiliar role and it was he who almost created Brecon’s first score. From a turn over on half way Rob burst through the mid field. Inside the 22 he just delayed his pass to supporting players a fraction too late and the opportunity was lost.

In spite of the failure to register any points in the opening quarter, Brecon, dominated the game territorially and in terms of possession. When a score eventually came it was just reward for some great team play. Gari Davies kicked for the corner from a penalty and Wyn Davies took the catch. The forwards drove effectively and when they were halted they neared the line Alan Taylor picked up and dotted the ball down over the line for a try which Gari Davies converted.

The fact that Brecon were able to generate a drive against the Fairwater pack was tribute to the collective effort of all eight and in particular to the work of Mike Chappelle in the second row. Having not played for three months and then being asked to play out of position was no easy re-introduction to life in the first XV. However, he adapted quickly and contributed effectively to an impressive unit that worked well for one another.

Brecon’s next score followed quickly and relied heavily of the graft of the tight forwards once again. Brecon again drove off a line out on the opposition 22. They made good ground and as Fairwater committed more men to the maul in a futile attempt to halt its progress Alan Taylor broke away down an unguarded blind side to score his second try.

With half time approaching Brecon had a comfortable 12 point lead but Fairwater were not to finish the half empty handed. Kicking a penalty to the corner they tried to emulate Brecon’s drive but they were repulsed initially. The maul came to a halt and the danger seemed over when suddenly their second row somehow burst out of the middle and ran in for a try which was converted.

During the half time talk, coach Graham Daley, impressed the need to make an early impact in the second half. His words were undoubtedly taken to heart. Almost from the kick off Brecon scored an outstanding team try. The two previous tries had been about forward power, this one however, although again involving the forwards again, was all about wonderful support, awareness and accurate off loading.

Tight head prop Steve Jackson started the move on half way. He blasted his way through the first opponent and showed great skill to offload out of the next tackle to fellow prop Ryan Harris. Ryan committed the defence before putting Tom Daley in possession and he in turn drew the last of the now desperately scrambling opposition. His pass put flanker Osian Davies in the clear and he recorded his sixth try of the season. Gari Davies converted and Brecon held a healthy lead.

From this position Brecon should have gone on to claim at least their fourth bonus point try. The fact that they didn’t was the only negative of the afternoon. They dominated the game and created opportunities. One of the best came when outside half Eifion Jones created space on half way with a lovely dummy and feed to Owen Morgan who hit the line at pace. He cut through and a try looked a certainty only for a despairing hand to catch his loose shirt with just enough sufficient force to halt him near the line.

In spite of the disappointment of failing earn the five points they needed to catch Fairwater this has to be regarded as a very satisfying resulted for a group of players who are playing well for each other and displaying a great team ethic. It is a pity that they now have to wait another three weeks before they face Aberdare at home. Then they will hope that they have the chance to build on this excellent performance.





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