Waunarlwydd RFC | 1st Team 18 - 17 Brecon RFC | 1st Team
Samuel Pridgeon
Try 1
Lee Evans
Conversion 1
Penalty 2
Andrew Michael Rees Spowart
Try 1
Dean Gunter
2 Conversion
1 Penalty
Eifion Jones
1 Try
Dafydd Thomas
1 Try

Match Report
29 October 2017 / Team News

Waunarlwydd 18 - Brecon 17

There was no doubt about Brecon’s ambitions this year. They were looking for a top three finish in the league and a good run in the WRU Plate. While their league ambitions are still on track their run in the Plate came to an end, by the narrowest of margins, at Waunarlwydd. The Swansea side play in Division 1 West Central and for the first time in the long history of both Clubs the two current Division 1 teams faced each other. While Brecon have had a great start to this season’s league competition, Waunarlwydd has found life more of a challenge, with a record of two wins from their six matches. However, some of their defeats have been very narrow and with home advantage they were not to be taken lightly. Although Brecon were missing their influential captain Ewan Williams, the team otherwise was almost at full strength and supporters who made the journey into unfamiliar territory were quietly confident.

When the game got underway, in good conditions, Brecon weathered the early Waunarlwydd pressure and looked promising in attack in spite of the fact that they were playing into a strong breeze. Wing Ryan Price, who looked dangerous throughout, made an early break and scrum half Adam Hoskins broke clear only for his off-load to go astray. The early forward battle was relatively even. Both sides won the line outs efficiently on their own throw and scrums were fairly even although, one side or the other seemed to gain the upper hand for short phases.

For ten minutes the sides sparred looking for the first opening and although Brecon perhaps shaded the period the first telling blow came from the home team. From a scrum on half way Waunarlwydd moved the ball left. At first there seemed little on but a wonderful pass from outside half J Moore allowed outside centre R Williams to drift on an outside break and link with impressive full back A Spowart, who clinically drew the last defender before putting left wing S Pridgeon over in the corner. Scrum half L Evans converted magnificently from the touch line.

That kick was a warning to Brecon that they could not afford to allow Evans a shot at goal from anywhere in their half of the field. It wasn’t long before Evans was given the opportunity to display his expertise once again. Hoskins made a great break from a line out. With the full back to beat he lost his footing and went to ground and the ball went loose. A melee formed around the ball and tempers flared. The referee restored order and awarded Waunarlwydd a penalty just inside their half. Evans had no hesitation in taking a shot at goal which cleared the cross bar with something to spare.

At this stage there was no doubt that Waunarlwydd deserved their lead but into the wind Brecon fought back and took control of the game territorially. They created a few half breaks but for the most part the Waunarlwydd defence held firm. Ryan Price did cause panic with a run down the right wing and was only halted by a despairing arm which caught him around the head as he cut inside. The culprit was sent to the bin for ten minutes and Brecon chose to kick for touch with the opposition now one man down. Brecon exerted intense pressure but failed to score. Hooker Elgan Lewis in particular showed up time and again on charging runs but still the defence held. The pressure led to penalties and Brecon opted to go to touch but three times they failed to set the maul and keep the ball in hand and so were denied. That failure was almost disastrous as they failed to take a clearing kick and Waunarlwydd were suddenly threatening at the other end of the field. Brecon escaped when a pass in defence hit the post and rebounded in play only for the Waunarlwydd player to knock on with the line at his mercy.

From that escape Brecon worked their way back up-field. Again they failed to open the home defence and blew one great opportunity. With Jake Crockett in acres of space and close to the line the final pass was forward. However, play was brought back for a previous penalty and with the last act of the half Brecon went for a scrum on 5 metres. The scrum was solid and finally, No 8, Dafydd Thomas crossed the line giving Dean Gunter the simplest of conversions.

Turning round just 3 points down and now with the wind at their backs Brecon looked as if they were edging ahead in a tight contest. Although territorially Brecon held the advantage and one or two moves initially looked promising, Brecon never took control as Waunarlwydd showed great dogged resistance. As the clock ran down towards the last quarter Brecon took the pragmatic route for the first time and opted for a penalty kick at goal rather than go towards the touch line. Gunter’s kick drew the scores level. With the game so tightly balanced spectators began to speculate the possibility of a drawn tie and what would happen next. That scenario changed, however, with a monster kick.

On half way Adam Hoskins found himself in space and faced by second row R Cherry. Adam went to run outside but was caught as Cherry showed a remarkable turn of pace. At the breakdown Brecon were penalised and Evans opted to go for goal from half way and into the wind. His kick was magnificent and Waunarlwydd re-took the lead.

Inside the last 10 minutes Brecon had to hit back. They did it brilliantly. From a scrum on the left of the home 22 the ball was moved right to Gunter. Crockett looped around from the left wing to appear in mid field and cause a slight hesitation in the defence. It was enough. Gunter and his inside centre Eifion Jones read the situation perfectly. Gunter used Crockett as the decoy and instead fed Jones who cut a great line at the inside shoulder of his opposite number. He cut clean through and with the full back already wide, cantered over between the posts. Gunter’s conversion gave Brecon a four point lead with just minutes to play and a wind advantage.

However, Waunarlwydd were not finished. From the kick off they gained a penalty and went to a line out in the corner and so started a final five minute period of severe pressure. Brecon held out against driving line outs and scrums within ten metres of the line even when reduced to 14 men after a sin binning. Brecon were desperate to run down the clock or for home side to make a mistake. They didn’t and as the game entered the final play they took a scrum, 5 metres out on the right. Brecon’s depleted pack held in the tight and the ball was moved wide to wing Pridgeon who stretched and made the line as he was brought down. The kick failed but that didn’t matter as the final whistle brought huge and justified celebrations from the home team and supporters.