WRU National League Division 3 South East Saturday 14th April
Penarth 16 - Brecon 17
Brecon have had a very difficult run in to the end of the season. In spite of a huge improvement in form, four consecutive away matches including three against the top three sides in the league was never going to be an easy task. However after playing three of these matches they have earned a total of ten league points out of a maximum possible total of 15. Their one reverse was a narrow defeat against St Peters a week ago.
If there was one game in which Brecon anticipated a win it was the match against Penarth. Penarth have had a torrid time this season losing all 19 of their previous matches. Many have been lost narrowly but even so, considering Brecon’s recent results, this match looked certain to yield a comfortable win with the chance of claiming a bonus point. Perhaps it was that expectation that contributed to Brecon’s failure to produce the consistent level of performance that has characterised almost the whole of the second half of the season. To be fair to the home side this was a big math for them. They desperately didn’t want to end the season at home with another defeat and in front of a large crowd they produced a spirited performance. Brecon were pushed to the limit and did well to recover from a half time deficit of 9 points to nil. When they did eventually get onto the scoreboard it looked as if a comfortable victory was on the cards but again Penarth fought back and just failed to overhaul Brecon by the narrowest of margins.
There is no doubt that if there was complacency it was not the fault of the coaches who emphasised that this game could be a banana skin. The players also worked hard to grind out a victory and certainly the rub of the green did not favour Brecon. However, in spite of all the good intentions it did appear that Brecon were looking for the bonus point before they had secured the victory. Twice, before a point had been scored, Brecon opted to kick a penalty to the corner and set up an attack rather than try directly for goal. On both occasions Brecon failed to score from the attacking line outs.
There was no doubting that in these early stages of the match Brecon looked the most threatening. Rob Price in the centre ran powerfully while Eifion Jones at outside half created a number of half chances, some of which should have led to scores. Yet in spite of the balance of play favouring Brecon it was Penarth who put the first points on the board. On one of their rare sorties into the Brecon half they gave away a penalty only for the decision to be reversed following a comment from one of the Brecon players. James Docherty, who looked an accomplished outside half, was pragmatic in his approach and put Penarth into the lead with a well struck penalty.
Following this set back, Brecon, continued to dominate territory. After some lovely interplay between the back row of Tom Daley, Wyn Davies and Ewan Williams, Brecon created a two man overlap but the scoring pass was spilled. Eifion Jones then carved through mid-field and near the line his pass went astray.
With time passing and still no score being registered Brecon visibly became anxious. Further opportunities were wasted before Penarth extended their lead when Docherty struck his second penalty and then his third after a shoulder charge which also resulted in Brecon losing a player to the sin bin.
Harsh words needed to be spoken at half time and the approach to the second half was certainly one in which their opponents were shown far greater respect. Gari Davies reduced the deficit with a penalty and gradually Brecon began to take control. Wyn Davies in particular started to impose great pressure on the Penarth line out while in the loose prop Ryan Harris was very prominent as Brecon chose to go forward closer to the breakdown.
Eventually the pressure told and a great break off the back of a scrum by No 8 Tom Daley led to a try when Dan Edwards took and smartly gave a pass to Wyn Davies who crashed over. Gari Davies’ conversion put Brecon in the lead.
They soon extended the lead when from a scrum 5 metres short of the home line. Daley broke and ran clean through the defence to score under the posts. Gari Davies had the simple task of converting and extending Brecon’s lead to 8 points.
Again thoughts turned to the possibility of claiming a bonus point but that paid little respect to Penarth who showed that they were certainly not finished. In a spirited final flourish, Penarth threatened the unthinkable. They scored a great try when centre James Thatcher cut back on the angle and Docherty reduced the deficit to just one point.
Brecon experienced a nervous few minutes before the final whistle brought
both a sense of relief in that the victory was secure but also disappointment
in the overall performance which fell far short of recent standards.
© Brecon RFC 2006-2012