Pontyclun RFC | 1st Team 18 - 22 Brecon RFC | 1st Team
Jake Crockett
1 Try
Jake Newman
2 Conversion
1 Penalty
Daniel Thomas Howe
1 Try
Davey Herdman
1 Try

Match Report
12 April 2015 / Team News

Champions Div 2 East Central

Pontyclun 18 - Brecon 22

In theory Brecon’s task, as they travelled towards Pontyclun, was simple. One point from this match would see them crowned as Division 2 East Central League Champions. Just earning one point, however, was not the aim of the team and management. There was the desire to win the Championship outright while maintaining their 100% away record for the season. With these aspirations in mind Brecon kicked off into a stiff breeze wanting to establish their credentials as out and out league leaders from the start.

What transpired certainly did not adhere to the script. For the first 25 minutes of the game Brecon hardly emerged from their own half. The wind certainly played a part in that but the main reason for the team being put on the back foot squarely rested on their mistakes and the incentive handed to a lively Pontyclun team. Within 5 minutes Brecon were 10 points down. The kick off was taken cleanly enough but when the clearing kick was charged down Brecon were forced to kill the ball and Pontyclun were awarded a penalty on the 5 metre line. Brecon were slow to organise their defence and quick witted scrum half Matthew Theaker spotted his opportunity to take a quick tap and dive over for a try which he converted.

That early mistake was immediately compounded when the kick off went straight into touch and Pontyclun were awarded a scrum on half way. Pontyclun moved the ball to the Brecon 10 metre line, where they were awarded another penalty and then an extra ten metres as Brecon showed frustration and indiscipline. Theaker had no difficulty in extending his team’s lead to ten points.

Ten points down after five minutes and hardly touching the ball was not the start Brecon had prepared for. The team needed to settle down and find a way to get back into the game but they found it difficult to change the momentum. Pontyclun varied their play well using the wind to win territory and then mixing up forward drives with width to their burly wings, Luke Rose and Dan Meredith. Fortunately for Brecon their defence and scrum worked well and facing almost constant pressure they denied their opponents a score. Yet they were unable to break free as they suffered from limited possession as the line out mal-functioned and handling lacked its usual accuracy.

Inevitably, with all the territory and possession, Pontyclun extended their lead. Theaker again had no difficulty in kicking a penalty from in front of the posts. With 25 minutes gone Brecon were 13 points down, facing a now confident opposition and any pre-match thoughts of this being a celebration game were completely dispelled. Somehow Brecon had to re-group and start again in order to avoid what would be a deflating and embarrassing reverse.

That change happened but it happened gradually. Danny Howe added an extra option at the line out and his work around the field was outstanding. With more possession Brecon began to lift the siege and the game became more evenly balanced. The early inaccuracies were unfortunately still there. Handling still fell short of what has been the norm throughout the season and so Brecon’s attack lost its fluency. A few opportunities were created but then mistakes, such as kicking a penalty dead rather than into touch at the corner, proved very costly.  As the clock ticked down towards half time and the opportunity to play with the wind at their backs, Brecon surely must have felt that they had survived a torrid half against opponents who were eager to take the scalp of the league’s top team.

For 40 minutes Brecon certainly had not looked worthy of holding that title but as the teams changed ends so a new Brecon emerged. For the next 20 minutes they played some outstanding rugby. First they cut their deficit then they took the lead and extended it to nine points before Pontyclun could regroup and come back into the game.

It started from the kick off where Brecon were awarded a penalty and Jake Newman put Brecon on the scoreboard for the first time in the match. Suddenly Brecon’s play became more accurate. With greater continuity they looked more dangerous and now converted their opportunities. The first try came at the end of a lovely move. Efion Jones and Rob Price combined well in mid-field and Price broke through the middle. He made use of the support on his right, with left wing Jake Crockett having crossed the field to create the extra man. Passes went to hand and Crockett scored in the corner.

Within minutes Brecon took the lead with a second superb try. Davey Herdman, who entered the fray at half time, carried the ball strongly to set up a ruck near half way. The ball was cleared quickly and some lovely interplay involving forwards and backs followed. Pontyclun’s defence worked hard to stem the flow but finally numbers told and Danny Howe crashed over. Jake Newman converted and Brecon were suddenly two points ahead.

The transformation continued. Jake Newman put in a lovely chip over the defence to win territory and from the resulting pressure Brecon earned a penalty. With their scrum dominant they opted for a scrum some ten metres out. Initially they drove the scrum towards the line with Craig Davies in control then as the scrum began to turn Davies picked up and was held just short of the line. Herdman was quickly up in support and took the ball from Davies and dived over. Again Newman converted.

With twenty minutes to go, nine points in the lead and with the wind at their backs things were looking good but the game again turned. Pontyclun were hurt by the reverse and when Danny Howe was sent to the sin bin they took advantage of their numerical superiority. They threw everything into attack keeping ball in hand and driving hard into Brecon territory. For a while Brecon held out but finally, from a driving maul, No Josh Davies barged his way over for an unconverted try.

Brecon’s lead was now cut to four points and Pontyclun went for the winning score. The fact that they were denied told everyone how much the win meant to the Brecon team. Time and again they held out near their line and time and again they were saved by some outstanding individual and collective defence. Dafydd Thomas epitomised the effort when at a line out on Brecon’s 5 metre line he brilliantly got up to steal the throw and allow Brecon to clear the ball downfield.

When the final whistle blew the whole of the Brecon contingent celebrated. With just two games to play the league title is theirs with the team having recorded an outstanding record of 18 wins and just two home defeats. There will now be a determination to finish in style with their final two matches both at Parc de Pugh against Penarth and Abercynon respectively.