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SWALEC WRU National League Division 3 South East Saturday 18th Oct 2008

Brecon 23 – St Peter’s 10

The match between Brecon and St. Peter’s at Parc de Pugh was a fascinating affair. Both sides entered the match on the back of three consecutive wins. Both sides knew one another of old with St.Peter’s distinctly holding the advantage in terms of results in recent meetings. Neither side could afford a defeat if they were to maintain a challenge in the top quarter of the league.

There the similarity ended. Brecon with a much disrupted back line needed to take advantage of the strength of its pack if they were to earn a win while St.Peter’s needed to take advantage of the lack of co-ordination in the Brecon backs by using width to stretch the home defence. Ultimately Brecon won the contest through an outstanding performance by its pack and a back line which played a sound supporting role.

Where Brecon gained advantage in this and recent matches, was in the power of their forward drives. The pack showed once again that it is full of great ball carriers, allowing so many options. Dale Williams seems rejuvenated in the front row. Alongside him were Captain Andrew Davies, who was a tower of strength in tight and loose and Richard Galea who never took a backward step and was almost impossible to stop short of the gain line. Their efforts combined with that of Scott Edwards, Owen Davies, Huw Morgan and two outstanding young prospects, Wyn Davies and Robbie Herdman ensured that their opponents were always on the back foot.

Geraint Price at scrum half undoubtedly benefitted from the forward strength and he had a great game alongside his half back partner Dan Edwards who, both in this and recent matches, is showing greater confidence, awareness and maturity. It was Dan who set Brecon’s first score with a neat chip over the onrushing defence. Gathering the favourable bounce, centre Alun Davies burst away from 40 metres to score a try which young full back Gari Davies had no difficulty in converting.

Even at this stage St.Peter’s realised that they were not going to contain the rampant Brecon pack and needed to play a more expansive game. This they did to great effect. A mix up in the Brecon mid field led to a counter attack out wide and their strong running full back Sean O’Brien beat the cover defence to score in the corner. Within five minutes they gained the lead when a Brecon move was turned over and some quick hands gave winger M. Butler both enough time and space to race in for a second unconverted try.

At this stage Brecon needed to be pragmatic and play to their strength. They did with great effect. Forward pressure earned a penalty which Gari Davies converted and then home side took a stranglehold on the game. A barnstorming Scott Edwards run supported by the ever present Robbie Herdman took play to within 5 metres of the visitors’ try line. The only way the Brecon scrum could be stopped was by illegally pulling it down and on the third occasion the referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty try which Davies duly converted.

The closing play of the first half set the scene for the second. With Brecon’s pack taking complete control it was only a matter of time before they increased their lead. Perhaps the only surprising feature was that they failed to record another try which would have done justice to their dominance and had to settle for further Gari Davies penalties. Much of the reason for the failure to score must be credited to their dogged opponents who although beaten were not prepared to surrender. Their enthusiasm was evident in the way that their scramble defence just about managed to deal with numerous threats to their line.

The victory was an enormous boost to Brecon and reflects well on coaches Hefin Williams and Martin Keylock who have completely transformed the side from the one that lost to lowly Nantymoel in the first game of the season.
There are also other bonuses. Young Rob Price did himself proud in his first senior game in the unfamiliar role of outside centre and with the likelihood of players returning to fitness and availability in the next few weeks the prospects for the season are promising. There will soon be strength in dept as evidenced by the fact that already Brecon are able to bring quality forwards such as Gareth Owens, Ian Keddle and David Evans, off the bench. There is a definite buzz in the club at the moment and everyone is looking forward to the cup challenge of Skewen next week and then the journey to old adversaries Tylorstown, prior to the break for the Autumn Internationals.





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