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SWALEC WRU National League Division 3 South East Saturday 29th October 2011

Brecon 6 - Nelson 17

After a good win at Aberdare the previous week, Brecon were hoping that they could build on their improved form. The challenge, however, was not an easy one as they faced Nelson, one of the in-form teams in the league. After a stuttering start, Nelson had strung together a run of good results which had elevated them to third place. The challenge was made all the more difficult when in the pre match warm up Brecon lost their inform full back Owen Morgan who tweaked a hamstring. They also suffered mid-way through the match from the loss of outstanding No 8 Tom Daley and two critical sin binnings to prop Ryan Harris and scrum half Rob Price. Both seemed harsh and their combined effect certainly influenced the outcome of the game.

In spite of these setbacks, Brecon battled hard and although they could never quite overcome the power and organisation of the Nelson side they put up a very creditable performance and at times certainly posed a threat to the visitors.

In adversity players like Osian Davies, Wyn Davies and Rob Price set an example to the whole side with their combative approach. They carried the game to their opponents and defended as if their lives depended on it. Their courage lifted the rest of the team and rattled their opponents. At one stage in the second half the team held out against almost impossible odds as Nelson scrimmaged over and over again on the home 5 metre line. In spite of the fact that they had the more powerful scrum and drove Brecon back, somehow Brecon survived. Nelson at this stage were clearly frustrated and Brecon’s refusal to succumb visible shook the visitors. Play became confrontational but the smaller Brecon team gave as good as they got and an upset was on the cards.

Any thought of a great win, however, was quelled when Rob Price received his marching orders with ten minutes to play. Making the most of the lack of numbers, Nelson attacked down the right and drew Brecon’s cover. The quickly recycled ball was fed to outside half Paul Emmanuelli. He showed great vision and wonderful accuracy with the boot as he spotted player free on the left and sent an outstanding kick straight into the hands of unmarked full back Steven Parry. Emmanuelli converted and effectively ensured their victory.

Although defeat stared them in the face, Brecon continued to battle on and should have gained a losing bonus point. Being pressurised in their 22, Nelson made a mistake. A loose pass was seized on by excellent outside half Eifion Jones. He kicked the ball through and with the line at his mercy the ball refused to bounce kindly and he just failed in the attempt to grasp a wet, slippery ball in the shadow of the posts.

With that lost opportunity Brecon emerged from the match empty handed. Their only points had been two well taken penalties supplied by the very reliable Gari Davies, who is rapidly maturing into an accomplished inside centre. By contrast their opponents took their chances. Twice they made the most of numerical superiority. In addition to their final score they also claimed a try in the absence of prop Ryan Harris. They drove Brecon’s depleted scrum off the ball on their 10 metre line. No 8 Matthew Williams broke past the unguarded flank of the scrum and with just full back Gareth John Davies to beat he took the tackle and offloaded to supporting flanker Ryan Saddler who crossed unopposed. Emanauelli easily converted and added a penalty.

Ultimately this was a very brave performance and Brecon would have been happy with and deserved a losing bonus point but it was not to be. In some ways they are now fortunate that as a result of a bye in the first round of the SWALEC Plate they have no game next Saturday and they have some time for injuries to mend before they face league leaders St Peters at Parc de Pugh on Saturday 12th November.





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