Our History

Brecon RFC is proud of its long history within the game of Rugby Football. The first recorded match played by a Brecon team can be traced back to 1868. The club was a founder member of the Welsh Rugby Union and successfully celebrated its centenary during the 1979/80 seasons. Now having passed the milestone of 150 years of Rugby in th Town, it continues to look to the future, backed by a vibrant club, loyal supporters, forward looking and efficient administrators and a playing contingent that covers all age groups from 7 to seniors.

The first XV currently hold the title of Champions of National League Division 1 East and WRU Plate Cup Holders. Both titles were won at the end of Season 2018/19 but with the Season of 2019/20 having been suspended as a result of the Coronavirus Pandemic the Club is still proud to hold on to what was an outstanding achievement. The story of how the Club reached that high point was not straightforward. At the start of the National League organisation, Brecon found itself in Division 8 Central and on the playing side the team struggled to make any progress in spite of the fact that the clubhouse, newly established in its present Watton premises, was thriving.

Thanks to the foresight of the committee and a number of loyal former players, a new recruiting regime was established and Mike Thomas was persuaded to join the Club as Player Coach. The success of this new regime was quickly evident and Brecon climbed from the foot of Division 8 to Division 4 in successive seasons.

The impetus generated in those days subsided for a time. The 1st XV progressed to  Division 3 in 2006/07 and for two seasons they challenged for promotion. However, life became more of a struggle with the team just staving off relegation on a few occasions. iIn the 2012/13 season the team started poorly but by the time January arrived the hard work of coaches Chris Yates and Graham Daley together with the collective endeavour of the team transformed the season. 2012/13 finished with an outstanding win against promotion winning Dowlais in the final of the Mid District Bowl. In 2013/14 the pattern was repeated. During a poor first half of the season just two league matches were won and yet post-Christmas only two league matches were lost. Again the team progressed to the Mid District Bowl final, however, this time they failed to retain the trophy as they lost out on try difference to Wattstown in a match which was drawn 13 - 13.

In spite of, or perhaps because of that disappointment the team galvanised itself over the summer break and started 2014/15 with a bang. With a new coaching and management team of Alan Witcomb (Director of Rugby, Darren Witcomb (Team Manager) and Graham Daley (Coach) the team showed it was determined to buck the trend of the last few seasons and continue with a run of successes in the newly formed League Division 2 East Central. By the end of the season they had fulfilled that ambition with the team finishing as clear league Champions and winning promotion to Division 1 East. The success of the senior team was mirrored by both the 2nd XV and Youth teams. The 2nd XV won the Keith Joseph Cup and gained promotion to the Premier League in the Rhondda and East Galmorgan District. The youth also had an outstanding season, losing just one league game to the ultimate league Champions, Mountain Ash. When they defeated Mountain Ash in the return match they gave themselves the possibility of claiming the title of Champions only to lose out on points difference.

At first, the senior side found life difficult in Division 1. With Eugene Murnane now directing the team as head coach, the first half of the season brought little joy and an immediate return to Division 2 was a distinct possibilty. Yet, not for the first time the team showed resiliance and by the time the season drew to a close Brecon had secured a mid-table position. The following season produced something of the same pattern but on this occasion the second half revival was even more marked and Brecon climbed 5th, to their highest ever National league position at that time and gave an indication of what could be achieved.

There was a distinct sense of anticipation during pre season preparations leading into 2017/18. A new coaching regieme was introduced with Welsh International and British Lion, Andy Powell returning to his home town Club as senior coach. He was joined by Martin Keylock and under their direction the team climbed to 3rd place in the League. 2018/19 started with a further change to the Coaching team. Martin Keylock retired and he was replaced by former Welsh International, Matthew J Watkins and Matthew Lewis. The season just got better and better. An undeafeated run in the WRU Plate ended with an outstanding Cuo Winning performance at the Principality Stadium and not long afterwards Brecon were crowned League Champions of Division 1 East. As Champions they earned the opportunity to play in a double header playoff for promotion to the National Leagues against Glamorgan Wanderers. The first game at home was won and the dream of enterring the National League was within striking distance. Sadly that final game proved to be one step too far as Glamorgan Wanders took the spoils on the aggrigate score of the two matches. However, Brecon had posted notice that they were a team to be respected and feared. Sadly the following season was curtailed as the country was plunged into Lockdown which as far as rugby is concerned is likely to continue until some time in 2021.

Looking to the future then the bulk of player recruitment will undoubtedly come through the Club's successful Mini/Junior/Youth teams. Eighteen of the first XV squad of players were former club youth players and there is a determination that the development of local talent is sustained. In recent seasons the Youth team has achieved record breaking success. Guided by Thomas Jones (team manager), Alan Taylor and Huw Phillips (coaches) the team has achieved a notable treble success. In recent years they have emerged as Blues League B Champions and winners of both the Heart of Wales and Breconshire Cups. and reached the semi final of the Welsh Youth cup with a conversion at the final play of the match against Morriston denying them an appearance at the Principality Stadium Living up to these achievements will be an unenviable task. However, Team Manager Anwen Peters and coaches, Leigh Savage, Jason Jenkins and Wales International Andrew Lewis will be looking to continue to develop these young talents so that perhaps they can match recent success as they look to establish a strong future player base. .

The second team also has a vital role to play in the future of the Club. Recent Seasons have brought notable success. As finalists and winners of the Ivor Lewis Cup the team has shown great promise in recent years and their promotion to the WRU Conference has proved to be the stimulus required to build on previous successes.Lyn Parry, a former 1st XV captain and Andrew Williams, played a vital role as team managers and with Alan Taylor as Team Coach the second XV willsurely grow in strength, enabling the team to fulfil its rightful place as an important cog in the Club's player development and retention programme.

The club’s main pitches at Parc de Pugh have been improved and the Pavilion provides excellent changing facilities, a covered hard surface spectator area and a more than useful sponsors’ room on the first floor. In addition the major ambition of the club, to provide full floodlighting for the main pitches and training areas, has been  fully realised. Future aims are ambitious, with the emphasis being to maintain and improve its excellent facilities to encourage the development of local talent and to enable them to play to a level that matches their true potential.

For anyone interested in joining us and helping us achieve our goals, as players, coaches, administrators, supporters or sponsors, then they are guaranteed a welcome in a Club dedicated to the promotion and development of rugby at all levels. We are not there yet and there is much work to be done, but we look forward to the new season with optimism.
 
Ron Rowsell
 
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