Brecon RFC | 1st Team 52 - 16 Dowlais RFC | 1st Team
Jake Crockett
Try 2
Sam Campbell
Try 1
Dafydd Edwards
Try 3
Dean Gunter
Conversion 4
Drop Goal 3
Davey Herdman
Try 1

Match Report
07 October 2018 / Team News

Brecon 52 - Dowlais 16

Following on from their success in the first round of the Plate competition Brecon returned to Parc de Pugh to continue their league programme knowing that if they wished to maintain their challenge at the top of the league then they had to add to extend their unbeaten record. With both their unbeaten, closest rivals, Penallta and Brynmawr, facing one another this was Brecon’s chance to move into second place. Their task, however, was not going to be easy as they had to compete not just with opponents who came to Brecon on the back of two consecutive wins but also a mounting injury list. The situation was not helped by the fact that after just 15 minutes, Brecon lost loose head prop Kevin Jones and towards the end of the half influential second row Jarred Davies was forced off the field. Fortunately their two young replacements, Will Prosser and Luke Millichap, did all that was required of them and impressed on their season debuts in the senior team. In particular they emphasised just how important a successful second XV is, in order to allow young talent to develop and push for places in the senior team. Brecon were also fortunate in that the heavy overnight and morning rain relented and the Parc de Pugh surface was in perfect condition thus allowing Brecon to play the expansive game that most suits them.

While, at the final whistle, Brecon supporters could not have asked for anything more out of the game it certainly was not easily accomplished. During the first half Dowlais proved to be suborn opponents and held Brecon to just a four point margin. Brecon also were not clinical. Although they had the most of territory and looked threatening they allowed Dowlais opportunities and they capitalised on them. Two prime examples followed close on the heels of Brecon’s first score. During the first ten minutes, in which hooker Ryan Williams was outstanding, Brecon created a number of opportunities. They failed to take them until impressive flanker Davey Herdman crashed over from a line out on the visitors’ 5 metre line. It seemed to be a score on which Brecon could build. However, Brecon yielded a penalty from the kick off and Dowlais outside half Steve Jones landed the three points. Within minutes they added another score to take the lead. That score came from an unlikely situation but showed that Dowlais could not be taken lightly. Brecon had a scrum on the Dowlais 22. Disrupted through injury, they lost the strike against the head and Dowlais moved the ball into mid-field. There seemed little danger particularly as the Brecon mid-field defence had been water tight in all matches this season. On this occasion, however, two tackles were missed as the Dowlais centre cut his way through and up to half way before offloading to Nick Thomas. The chunky winger showed a clean pair of heels and scored in the corner. Clearly Brecon had a game on their hands.

Brecon battled back but not always with the accuracy that would have encouraged spectators or coaches. Dean Gunter kicked a penalty to level the scores. Then a try came after left wing Dafydd Edwards joined the line in mid-field and brilliantly opened up a gap which was exploited with a chip ahead. Ace poacher Jake Crockett won the race to the ball and scored and Gunter converted to give Brecon seven point lead. Again Brecon struggled at the kick off and this allowed Dowlais to set up their best period of pressure to date. Brecon’s defence held but on the stroke of half time they surrendered a penalty which Jones kicked.

There were plenty of anxious faces amongst the Brecon support as the teams left the field for the dressing rooms. The half had been an arm wrestle with Brecon being unable to get away from dogged and determined opponents and there were clearly opportunities for Dowlais to come away from Brecon with a win. Whatever happened between the coaches and the players in the confines of the changing room is unclear but what soon became obvious, as the second half started, was that the Brecon team appeared far more focussed. Dean Gunter at outside half pulled the strings brilliantly, whether putting in probing kicks or setting his backs away from positions all over the park. He opened Brecon’s scoring within minutes of the start of the second half with a well struck penalty. Brecon then showed far greater concentration and execution at the kick off both in this instance and for the remainder of the game. Ewan Williams and Chris Davies in particular were impressive in taking the ball and running back at their opponents and it was from running back out of defence that Brecon crafted the next score. Davey Herdman made the initial break and Ryan Williams made the link to Jake Crockett who burst away down the wing. Another beautifully weighted chip put Dafydd Edwards in the clear and he showed composure to pick up and score. Gunter again converted.

The game, as yet, was far from over. Dowlais came back and as Brecon showed indiscipline so they mounted pressure through a series of penalties towards the corner. Finally their pressure brought its deserved reward as the forwards trundled over from a driving maul. Again Brecon hit back immediately with a third Gunter penalty.

Dowlais were now desperate and from their own half ran hard. They were accurate and kept the ball for a long period but could not make any headway. Finally a crunching Cameron Gardner tackle floored his opponent and dislodged the ball. His centre partner, Sam Campbell, kicked ahead, regathered and showed strength in driving through the remnants of the defence to score. Straight from the kick off Brecon scored a brilliantly crafted try. On his own 22 Dean Gunter spotted that the Dowlais defence was very narrow. He put in a perfect wide kick which wing Dafydd Edwards took at pace. With just the full back left to beat he drew his man and gave the perfect inside pass to Crockett for the full back to stretch in under the posts. Gunter again converted.

Now the game was over but Brecon still had enough left to create two more tries. Davey Herdman ripped the ball off his opponent and some great handling across the backs put Dafydd Edwards in space and he went in for his second try. It was not long before the diminutive winger put the icing in the cake with his third try. Crockett started the move with a counter to half way. Mike Powell carried the move on before giving Edwards enough space to wriggle around the outside and cross unopposed under the posts. Gunter finished the scoring with a conversion.

The final act was for the Brecon support to select their Man of the Match. There were many candidates but ultimately prop Richie Davies won the vote for his tireless work in the tight, with ball in hand and in defence. The news that the second team maintained their unbeaten run with a 43 points to 8 victory at Llantrisant added to the good after match feeling in the Clubhouse.