Fixture

Newbridge RFC | 1st Team 16 - 16 Brecon RFC | 1st Team
Eamonn Rees
Conversion 1
Penalty 3
Luke Morgan
Try 1
Scott Gibson
1 Try
Dean Gunter
1 Conversion
3 Penalty

Match Report
10 November 2019 / Team News

Newbridge 16 - Brecon 16

For the first time in the long history of Brecon RFC the 1st team travelled to Newbridge to face former Merit Table giants, Newbridge. Since the dawn of professional rugby and the introduction of Regional teams in Wales Newbridge have gradually fallen from the higher echelons of Welsh rugby and after relegation from the Championship last year they find themselves in Division 1. As opposed to a number of sides in a similar position, however, they have shown that they are determined to halt the slide and have completed their first six league matches boasting a 100% record. Saturday’s match, therefore, was a classic top of the table clash with Brecon in top spot courtesy the extra bonus points that they have accumulated. Naturally and with home advantage Newbridge saw this match as an opportunity to leap frog their opponents and take  their place at the head of the table.

Apart from home advantage other factors worked in their favour. After recent rains the ground was heavy and the ball quickly became wet and difficult to handle. This tended to play into the hands of the big, powerful Newbridge pack and the pattern of play that they favoured. This was based around and strong scrum, an effective line out and a tight and effective driving maul. A combination of these elements ensured that for long periods Newbridge dominated territory and possession. With this as the background Brecon faced a massive challenge. The fact that they eventually emerged from the game with honours even was of enormous credit to the visiting Brecon team.

The game started as would be expected with both teams showing respect for one another and cautiously looking for an advantage. Newbridge set out their stall with some hard driving play while Brecon, although kicking more than usual, still looked to move the ball in spite of difficult conditions. For a long period the teams cancelled one another out and when scores came it was through a penalty. Dean Gunter put Brecon into the lead but parity was quickly restored as Newbridge matched Brecon’s score.

As the first half progressed so Brecon struggled to create openings as the Newbridge defence put ball carriers under considerable pressure and this resulted in errors. Equally Brecon’s defence was stubborn and the game became a battle of attrition.

Brecon pulled ahead with a second Gunter penalty to take them into half time with a slender 3 point lead.

Obviously the first score of the second half was going to be important. That first opportunity came to Brecon and Gunter’s trusty boot gave Brecon a six point lead. Newbridge had to hit back and they exerted great pressure on the Brecon defence deep in Brecon territory. Finally, the pressure told as the potent home driving maul sucked energy out of their opponents. Newbridge finally took the lead as they drove over the line and added the conversion.

Buoyed by the score Newbridge were re-envigored and looked to extend their lead. They did it with a penalty and then as the game entered its final phase further extended the lead with another penalty. Brecon were now clinging on to a losing bonus point seven points adrift as the game entered the final five minutes. To their enormous credit they showed great courage and resilience. They created a position deep inside the Newbridge half and were accurate in their execution. Scrum half Scott Gibson crossed for a try and Gunter added the conversion which drew Brecon level a position they held to the final whistle.

On reflection this was an outstanding result for the visiting team. They endured a pounding at forward in difficult conditions but bounced back to record a vitally important away draw against their closest rivals. They now travel away again to another season defining match as they face Bonymaen in the third round of the Plate.

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