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SWALEC WRU National League Division 3 South East Saturday 19th November 2011

Brecon 25 - Penarth 10

Brecon ended the first half of their current league campaign with a third victory from their last four matches. The result marks a considerable improvement over the way they started the season with just one victory from their first four matches. While the win against league strugglers, Penarth, could not be considered to be one of their best performances it was an important win. The fact that players and coaches were disappointed with a win is a measure of the degree of improvement and expectation compared to the first few months of the season.

The first half performance, to some extent, continued in the same vein as the previous week when league leaders St Peters were stunned by the quality of Brecon’s play. The main difference this week was that although clear cut opportunities were created, they were not taken. On at least three occasions balls were dropped when the player had no-one between him and the try line and it looked harder to fail to score than to score. Even so Brecon led by 12 points to nil at half time having scored two good tries and having played a confident, high tempo game.

During half time the expectation was that Brecon would eliminate their errors and capitalise on their superiority. Why that didn’t happen was a considerable talking point at the end of the match. Instead of forging ahead they allowed Penarth back into the game. Mistakes were made and when after 10 minutes Penarth had reduced the lead to just two points there were a few anxious faces amongst the home supporters.

Brecon did regroup at this point and gradually pulled ahead without displaying any of the same momentum that they built in the first half. Finally in the closing stages of the game Brecon showed some of the drive and support which has characterised their play in recent matches and they ran out comfortable winners against gallant but limited opponents.

The early phases of the game suggested that Brecon would have little problem in winning and earning a bonus point. The scrum was secure and this gave the back row of Tom Daley, Osian Davies and Wyn Davies a great base to work off. An early Tom Daley break led to a penalty which Gari Davies just failed to convert. When Tom Daley broke next the move was effectively carried on by scrum half Rob Price and a score should have resulted but Owen Morgan was unable to hold onto a very unsympathetic short pass. The same combination of players soon set up a similar opportunity and this time Owen Morgan took the pass at pace and burst through to score. Gari Davies converted and registered his 100th point for the season.

Brecon then dominated the game in all phases apart from scoring. Three opportunities were lost after breaks by Rob Price, wing Eurin Morgan and outside half Eifion Jones. Eventually a piece of quick thinking by flanker Osian Davies was rewarded with a try as he took a quick tap penalty close to the visitors line. Although Brecon failed to score again before half time there was a feeling that the flood gates might open at any moment. Alun Davies was making excellent ground in mid-field and Owen Morgan looked dangerous whenever he was brought into play.

What materialised in the first 25 minutes of the second half was not what was written in the script. The team seemed to lose focus and concentration. It seemed that there was a feeling that the game was already won and all that had to do was go through the motions. If that was the case then they showed disrespect for their opponents who in response upped their game and came close to causing an upset.

They reduced the lead with a very well taken try. Right wing, Ben Donovan, broke past a weak tackle on the outside and then cut back to link with outside half James Docherty who raced to score under the posts. Scrum half Sean O’Sullivan had no problems converting nor did he have any difficulties in kicking a penalty a few minutes later. Now just two points behind Penarth were right back in the game with the momentum in their favour.

Brecon could feel fortunate that in difficult circumstances they could rely on the boot of Gari Davies to win them field position and kick two penalties to open up an eight point lead. With time running out Brecon gradually restored their control. Tom Daley and Wyn Davies made good ground on a number of occasions but support were not in evidence and time and again the isolated player was penalised in the tackle for holding on. After what seemed an age Brecon finally found some continuity. Eifion Jones broke and linked with Osian Davies who was tackled close to the line. The ball was quickly recycled and with Brecon attackers way outnumbering home defenders Tom Daley crashed through for a try. Gari Davies again converted.

The final result was a comfortable win but it emphasised the need to work on a number basic skills. Passing has to be sympathetic to the situation and players have to work on their ability to take a pass/ In addition concentration and willingness to work off the ball has to be maintained for a full 80 minutes. If these lessons can be taken on board then the team has the potential to be a threat to anyone in the second half of the season.





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