Brecon RFC | 1st Team 42 - 19 Nantyglo RFC | 1st Team
Mark Christopher Squirrell
Try 1
Gari Wyn Davies
Conversion 2
Penalty 1
Jake Crockett
Try 3
Richard Lucas Jones
Try 1
Jake Newman
Try 2

Match Report
08 January 2017 / Team News

Brecon 42 - Nantyglo 19

The first game of the New Year is always critical. After a break in rugby activities over the Christmas period it is important to quickly regain any momentum generated prior to that break. In their last game of 2016 Brecon secured a bonus point win against Blaenavon and now with their first game of 2017 Brecon needed to ensure that they built upon the feel good factor created by that win. With opponents Nantyglo arriving at Parc de Pugh also on the back of a derby win against Brynmawr, it was all to play for with Brecon anxious to pull away from the relegation zone and with Nantyglo looking to get off the bottom spot.

When the two teams played previously, in the first game of the season, Brecon came away with the spoils, in a close encounter, played in monsoon conditions. Now, in mid-winter, the weather was very kind. Ground conditions were good and there was hardly a breath of wind. The only factor which indicated the time of year was the general gloom which necessitated the use of the ground’s floodlights well before half time. The lights lit up the pitch but it was Brecon’s general play which lit up the match. They treated the spectators to a wonderful display of fluent rugby as they delivered a resounding bonus point victory, which lifted them from 9th to 7th place in the league table.

The game started well for Brecon. Within the first few minutes, right wing Lucas Jones almost crossed in the corner but the disappointment at that missed opportunity was short-lived as he crashed through some less that solid tackles to score with just 4 minutes on the match clock.

That first score built confidence and although at times the scrum was under pressure, the work of the pack around the field provided good ball for the backs to display their handling and running skills. It was not long before Brecon recorded their second score. From a shortened line out, on half way, flanker Mark Squirrell carved through an opening in mid-field. His wide pass to Cameron Gardner put the centre in space and he delivered a lovely try scoring pass to wing Jake Crockett.

If at this stage, however, any of the Brecon supporters thought the game would be easy they were quickly brought back to reality as Nantyglo showed that they could not be treated lightly. Some powerful forward drives drew the Brecon defence in, leaving a yawning gap out wide. The opportunity was spotted a deft kick for the right wing to gather led to the visitors’ first try.

Now with just a five point lead Brecon needed to re-establish control. The back row of Ioan Edwards, Mark Squirrell and inspirational captain, Ewan Williams, led the way. They turned ball over, harassed their opponents and linked seamlessly with their backs. Again their involvement was critical in Brecon’s third try. Once again ball was delivered by Andrew Hosie at the line out and this time Cameron Gardner cut a lovely angle. When he was brought down over the gain line the pack secured and delivered quick ball. Full back Jake Newman entered the line and a lovely offload put Crockett in for his second try. He then quickly claimed his hat-trick of scores when he pounced on a visitors’ mistake and burst away from any remaining cover. Gari Davies converted.

For a time the visitors were left struggling to cope with Brecon’s pace and collective ability on the ball. Although they battled hard they could not prevent Brecon from making ground and the home side were dangerous even from their own half. It was from there that the next score came. Ewan Williams and prop Richie Davies made hard yards in their own half and then the ball was spread wide, giving Jake Crockett the opportunity to stretch the defence. As he was caught so he delivered a beautiful flick pass to Jake Newman who continued the move down the left wing. When confronted by cover tacklers he put in a delightful chip which he regathered on the try line and scored for Davies to add a second conversion.

With half time approaching Brecon led by 29 points to 5 and Nantyglo were facing a drubbing unless they could stem the flow of Brecon’s ball. To their credit they re-grouped, drove hard and forced Brecon onto the back foot. After a period of pressure they eventually drove over for a converted try at the stroke of half time.

At the start of the second half Brecon seemed to have lost focus. A Brecon scrum on half way was driven back and finally penalised. Nantyglo kicked for the corner and built up pressure and scored when for the first time in the match Brecon players fell off tackles. With the conversion going over Nantyglo were now just 10 points behind with 35 minutes to play. Brecon could easily then have fallen away from the high standard they set in the first half but Ewan Williams galvanised his troops with a number of powerful runs aided and abetted by Davey Herdman who made a stunning cameo appearance off the bench. Control was re-established and Nantyglo were forced to defend. For a time they held out but finally were forced to concede when ever present, Mark Squirrell gathered a neat Jake Newman chip and ploughed over for a try. Brecon then virtually settled the game as a contest when Gari Davies kicked a penalty before the final act of the afternoon. Great runs by Ewan Williams and Davey Herdman carried Brecon to within 5 metres of the visitors’ line wide on the left. After a number of drives at the line the ball was moved into acres of space on the right and some lovely handling put Jake Newman in for his second try, the sixth to be registered by the back three trio of Newman, Crockett and Jones. Their dominance on the score sheet reflected the ambition and accuracy of Brecon’s play and they will be hoping for the same again when they face Abertillery Blaenau Gwent at Parc de Pugh next Saturday. 

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