Abertillery / Blaenau Gwent RFC | 1st Team 13 - 56 Brecon RFC | 1st Team
Jake Crockett
3 Try
Michael James Powell
1 Try
Joe Evans
2 Try
Eifion Jones
1 Try
Dean John Gunter
8 Conversion
Jonathan Bowen
1 Try

Match Report
18 February 2018 / Team News

Abertillery BG 13 - Brecon 56

After a month of inactivity caused by Six Nations rugby and one of the wettest winters for many years, Brecon were relieved to get back on the park. The match on a fairly calm February afternoon, at the pretty setting of Abertillery Park, was welcome relief after the disappointment of the defeat at the hands of league leaders Brynmawr and the frustration of matches called off because of wet grounds. The loss to Brynmawr has cast a long shadow and although not out of contention for league honours to some extend the destiny of Brecon’s league ambitions are now firmly in Brynmawr’s hands. Brecon’s task is statistically very simple. They have to go out and target a bonus point win in every match and hope that Brynmawr slip up. With that goal firmly in the forefront of everyone’s mind, Brecon took the field against lowly Abertillery knowing that anything less than a big win would further undermine their league ambitions.

There was a marked intensity about the pre-match warm up and as soon as the game started it was clear that Brecon looked sharp and focussed. When Abertillery outside half, Dan Haile put in a loose kick to full back Jake Crockett within the first minute Brecon’s ambition was clear. Crockett ran the ball back, carving through the opposition defence. The move was finally halted within 5 metres of the home try line but Brecon had posted their intent and it was not long before they were on the scoreboard. From a line out in the home 22 Brecon’s pack united to form an unstoppable driving maul allowing hooker Jonathan Bowen to claim a try which Dean Gunter converted.

Within no time Brecon extended their lead. The move started as an almost carbon copy of the previous one except that this time a score came directly from it. Again Crockett picked up a loose kick in his 22 and sliced through the defence. This time he linked with Jonathan Bowen who set off on a trade mark run, spinning out of tackles and driving into the 22. When he was eventually brought down the ball was moved to Crockett with the defence completely outflanked. With Gunter adding a second conversion Brecon had a 14 point lead within the first ten minutes.

Abertillery did hit back and halt the flow for a while when flanker Jack Summers drove hard and effectively at the Brecon defence. Penalsed at the breakdown Brecon conceded 3 points from the boot of right wing Spencer Crawley.

In fact Brecon suffered for a period after this as they got on the wrong side of the referee in their anxiety to further their score. They conceded territory and allowed Abertillery some hope. However, that glimmer of hope was quickly extinguished as Brecon pulled off a superb play from half way. Outside centre Cameron Gardner cut a wonderful angle back against the grain and received beautiful pass from Gunter. His angle of run completely split the home defence and scrum half Joe Evans received the scoring pass allowing Gunter to hit his third conversion.

Not satisfied with his first try scoring effort Evans quickly registered his second. Playing in the unfamiliar position of scrum half Evans looked comfortable and linked and supported well. His support work came to the fore again as he appeared on the shoulder of Eifion Jones who initially opned the Abertillery defence with a powerful run.  Evans finished off the move and Gunter again added the conversion.

As the game headed towards half time Brecon for the first time made a major mistake. A dropped ball near their 22 allowed Abertillery to win an attacking position. From there they worked the ball well through a number of phases and eventually full back Mike Williams scored in the corner.

It was Brecon, however, who had the last word in a productive half. They picked up their fifth try when Gunter put in a beautifully weighted kick which Crockett gathered and scored. Gunter was again accurate with boot.

The second half opened in the same pattern as the first. Lively wing Joey Morgan made a great run down the flank and when the ball was moved into mid-field prop Lewis Smout drove on before feeding wing Mike Powell who finished under the posts. Gunter picked up his sixth conversion and his seventh after Eifion Jones cut through to score under the posts.

For a period the game became error ridden. It wasn’t helped by Abertillery invoking uncontested scrums and Brecon falling away from their accuracy of the first half. A Brecon error handed Abertillery their second try when a speculative pass on half way was intercepted and wing Crawley ran in for the score.

It would have been a pity if the game drifted away after so much positivity and it was rescued by the example of flanker Mark Squirrel. He had been outstanding throughout the afternoon and now it was his example that lifted Brecon for the final flourish. Carrying the ball brilliantly he caused the home defence to scramble desperately and finally it cracked. Jake Crockett again got on the end of a sparkling move and he ran in for his third try. Gunter’s unerring boot concluded the scoring with his 8th conversion ending a satisfying afternoon’s work