Fixture

Brecon RFC | 2nd Team 19 - 5 St Peters RFC | 2nd Team
Gari Davies
Penalty 3
Rhys Evans
Try 1
Lewys Powell
Try 1

Match Report
24 November 2019 / Team News

Brecon 2nd Xv 19 - St Peters 5

With Brecon’s 1st XV match against Dowlais falling foul of the wet Autumn the focus fell on its second team. Although in the shadows of the senior team the 2nd XV have quietly been going about their business and have built up an excellent record. Having decided to step up a level by joining the WRU Conference this season they have made an impressive start at this new level. Prior to Saturday’s match they had won four of their six league matches, losing only to league leaders, Cardiff Met and Premiership second team, Bargoed. In order to consolidate their position they needed a result against St Peters, Saturday’s opponents, who were placed just below Brecon in the table and could leap frog the home side if they could came away with an away win. The stage was set, therefore, for an interesting match played on a remarkably good Parc de Pugh pitch.

Although the ground was wet rain had relented and the surface was remarkably firm with a luxurious covering of grass. Both sides attempted to make the most of the good ground conditions. Both were eager to move the ball and as a result the game flowed and fully engaged all thirty players and the large supporting crowd. A note here should be made of the young 16 year old referee Ben Connor, son of former Dragons outside half Sean Connor. In one of his first senior matches he showed remarkable maturity and authority. Although his youthful appearance was noted by everyone at the start, once the game commenced he gained the respect of the players and the crowd as he efficiently and effectively controlled the match between two committed teams.

Committed they certainly were as they battled for superiority. Defences on both sides were excellent with the try lines only being crossed on three occasions in spite of both sides being ambitious and moving the ball at every opportunity. St Peters for most of the game were far more effective in the line out than their opponents and particularly during the first half had the ascendancy in the scrums. This denied Brecon possession particularly after Brecon had worked themselves into good positions. With a shortage of quality first phase possession Brecon’s main threat came from the counter attacking of the back three, Lewys Powell, Hugh Prothero and James Price together with the work at the breakdown of the backrow trio Will Mousley, Josh Millichap and Iwan Davies. The half back pairing of Sam Hellard and Gari Davies also made an important contribution as they threatened with ball in hand, distributed well and for the most part kicked intelligently when needed. With both sides showing great commitment in defence the game ebbed a flowed, first one way and then the other.

Brecon certainly had the better start and should have built up a good lead but they had to settle for single try scored by full back Lewys Powell after a great build up. With a slippery ball the Brecon team showed outstanding handling skills as they went through the phases with Luke Millichap, Emlyn Luxton and Iwan Davies making ground before the backs were released. Further good handling created the overlap and pacey Lewys Powell scored in the corner.

Brecon should have extended their lead during this period when their excellent build-up play was let down by poor execution and gritty defence. During this period Powell, Josh Millichap, Hugh Prothero, Tom Witcomb and Gari Davies were prominent while the centre partnership of James Hellard and Matthew Watkins linked well with their dangerous outside backs. Time and again Brecon came close but each time the effort fell short as the stubborn defence, frail line out and final handling errors combined to deny the home side try line success.

With St Peters gaining the lion’s share of line out possession and with an advancing scrum they dragged themselves into the game. Brecon were suddenly forced to defend well collectively and occasionally individually. On one such occasion St Peters created an overlap and a score looked likely. With Brecon holding a slender five point lead Hugh Prothero read the situation brilliantly. He came off the wing and took man and ball with two spare men on the outside. Had his timing not been perfect, then St Peters could have taken the lead.

As the half drew to a close Brecon finally managed to increase the lead after Hellard took a quick tap from a penalty and won another penalty nearer the posts. Gari Davies kicked the goal and the referee called a halt for half time.

Brecon again started the half well but although the scrum improved with the introduction of Howell Morgan and Rhys Evans in the front row the line out still proved to be less effective than it should have been. The game was finely balanced at this stage. St Peters outside half kicked accurately for territory and looked to create a platform from which they could pressurise the home team. Brecon in return ran the ball from the back if they were able to gather on the full and Prothero and James Price showed that they were a threat even from distance. Brecon second row pairing of Deri Harris and Owain Williams also showed an appetite for work in defence at the breakdown and in spite of pressure Brecon denied their opponents of a score. When that came it was the trusty boot of Gari Davies which extended the lead to 11 points.

Almost immediately St Peters hit back. From a position deep in their own half they moved the ball wide and created space. Their left wing showed great pace to race in for a try to cut the deficit to six points. Everything was now set up for an exciting final quarter with St Peters beginning to gain momentum and looking threatening.

It was now that Brecon’s tight five, Deri Harris, Owain Williams, Rhys Evans, Tom Witcomb and Howell Morgan helped to turn the game in favour of the home team. The scrum became a potent weapon, putting the team on the front foot and winning penalties. From one such penalty Gari Davies took Brecon into a 9 point lead. St Peters had the opportunity to match that score but their penalty kick sailed wide. Brecon then had to resist some threatening pressure but they held out and once they gained territory in their opponents half they dominated the close of the game. During this period Brecon’s subs, Alan Taylor and Ben Kenchington, showed great skill with ball in their hands and following some great continuity Rhys Evans was put in space and he crashed over for the final score of the game.

The result ensured that Brecon remain second in the league and just three points behind leaders Cardiff Met, their next opponents on 7th December.

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