WRU National League Division 3 South East Saturday 14th January
Facing a tough away game at Tonyrefail Brecon set an aim of returning home with a narrow win in order to maintain their current form and to build confidence ahead of their derby match with Gwernyfed next Saturday. In the pre match build up coaches, Chris Yates and Graham Daley, emphasised the need to play the game in opposition territory on a heavy, yielding pitch. They stressed the importance of maintaining pressure on the opposition once field position had been established and not allowing them to break out by giving away soft penalties. At the end of the game both coaches were pleased that the game plan had been carried out to the letter. Brecon controlled the game in the first half and dominated territory and the match during the second. During that period they restricted the home side to no more than a couple of sorties into their half and even when the game was won they showed enough pride in their performance to keep a clean sheet when, in a late rally, Tonyrefail desperately searched for a morale boosting score.
The performance wasn’t faultless. With the degree of domination Brecon imposed on the game they should have gained a fourth bonus point try. Reviewing the match they will want to be more clinical in future but that does not detract from the satisfaction of notching up their fifth win in their last six league matches. In particular they will be pleased about the way they despatched a good team on their home territory.
The three tries Brecon scored could not have been more contrasting. The first was a piece of pure opportunism and a reward for not giving up on a lost cause. The second was a wonderful piece of inter play in a narrow channel and the third resulted from a brilliant individual break. One other try should have been recorded. As Brecon pounded at the home line flanker Wyn Davies crossed and grounded the ball only for the referee to be poorly positioned and unable to see the grounding. To be fair this was one of the few mistakes that the official made throughout the afternoon as he controlled the game efficiently and with a minimum of fuss.
In terms of the performances of Brecon players it would be hard to single out individuals. This match was won by a team which played well together and for one another. The unity is refreshing and that, as much as the introduction and return to action of a few players, has been the reason for the transformation over the past two and a half months.
In the opening period of the game the two sides were relatively evenly matched and a close game was anticipated. Brecon gained the ascendancy territorially but it took a good twenty minutes before either team created a scoring opportunity. Gari Davies failed to convert his first penalty opportunity but after a strong run by hooker Alan Taylor he made certain with his second attempt.
The next score and Brecon’s first try, followed quickly. A Tonyrefail handling move broke down on half way. Outside half Eifion Jones kicked the loose ball ahead and out paced the defence to hack on again on the 22. This time the ball crossed the try line and stopped in the in goal area. Two covering defenders reached it first but hesitated. That hesitation before touching the ball down proved fatal. Scrum half Daniel Edwards, who chased what seemed to be a lost cause, dived on the ball and scored under the noses of the opposition. Gari Davies converted and then increased the lead to 13 points with his second penalty just before half time.
Brecon started the second half brilliantly. On half way Brecon went blind down a narrow ten metre channel alongside the right hand touch line. There seemed to be little on but some wonderful inter-passing between Gari Davies and wing Matthew Watkins created an opening and Watkins ran in an excellent try.
From this point on Brecon dominated the game which was played almost exclusively in the Tonyrefail half. They pounded the line and came close on a number of occasions but failed to score. When eventually a score came it was completely out of character with what had happened previously. Tonyrefail finally lifted the siege and play moved to just inside Brecon’s half. Replacement scrum half Rob Price made a half break and the ball was then moved to Eifion Jones on his side of half way. He broke between the onrushing defenders and then split and outpaced the cover to score a brilliant individual try. Gari Davies converted.
The final phase of the match saw Tonyrefail battle hard to break the Brecon defence which stubbornly remained resolute and the visitors ran out clear winners. All thoughts now turn to next week’s derby match at Parc de Pugh with Brecon hoping that they can break the run four defeats in recent years to respected rivals, Gwernyfed.
© Brecon RFC 2006-2012