Brecon RFC | 1st Team 53 - 31 Blaenavon RFC | 1st Team
Ioan Edwards
Try 1
Jake Crockett
Try 1
William Prosser
Try 1
Dean Gunter
Conversion 5
Penalty 2
Lewys Cooke
Try 1
Ryan Williams
Try 1
Ewan Williams
Try 1
Alec Jones
2 Try
Scott Lewis
4 Conversion
1 Penalty
Dafydd Cripps
1 Try

Match Report
15 December 2019 / Team News

Brecon 53 - Blaenavon 31

Following the successful run in the Plate, Brecon made a welcome return to Parc de Pugh to play just their second league match from eight outings on home soil. Blaenavon were the visitors for this final match before the Christmas and New Year break. They have become regular opponents over the last four years with spoils being evenly shared. In recent seasons, however, Brecon have held the upper hand. In the first match of this season Brecon defeated their opponents at Blaenavon by 34 points to 7, so there could be no doubt about the fact that Brecon started as favourites.

The way the game commenced reflected that scenario perfectly. Brecon dominated and raced into an early lead. However, that was where the match diverged from the script. Blaenavon hit back and for the remainder of the first half, each time Brecon pulled ahead their opponents responded so that at half time Brecon led by just 2 points: 19 – 17. The same pattern persisted for the early part of the second half before Brecon finally surged ahead with a bonus point and seven tries in the bag. To their opponents credit they claimed a bonus point fourth try with the last play of the match, a point that was thoroughly deserved.

A match with 11 tries scored in Mid-December is fairly rare particularly on a Saturday when so many matches were postponed because of waterlogged pitches. Much of the reason for such entertainment came in no little part from the approach of both teams and also from the wonderful condition of the pitch which groundsman Norman Williams has maintained throughout the wet autumn.

For Brecon it was a curious match. Their game for long periods was outstanding. Forwards and backs combined effectively as part of a high tempo game plan and they created and scored some outstanding tries. What was uncharacteristic, after matches where their defence has received many plaudits, was the fragility of that defence on a few occasions. Not that Brecon handed Blaenavon easy scores but they made mistakes in defence and their opponents effectively and eagerly capitalised on the opportunities. So effective were Blaenavon, that ten minutes into the second half they were still just two points adrift and Brecon seemed to be unable to shake off the challenge that their opponents presented.

The start was so different as Brecon took control of the game and the score board. Brecon dominated in the tight. The line out was efficient and effective and an early driving maul off a line out almost led to the first try with just a forward pass preventing a score. Even then Brecon’s scrum caused problems for their opponents and when they themselves were awarded a scrum on 5 metres the inevitable happened. Ewan Williams brilliantly controlled the ball as the scrum edged to the try line and finally he claimed the first score. Dean Gunter converted.

It wasn’t long before Brecon extended their lead. Some great carrying from the front row trio of Richie Davies, Aiden Luxton and Ryan Williams laid the groundwork but this time it was the backs that provided the finish. Dean Gunter was instrumental in creating the try. First a brilliant, flat, miss pass stretched the visitors defence to the left then when the ball was recycled he put in a beautiful kick pass to the right. Wing Lewys Cooke was in space but had to jump to reach the ball with cover approaching. He read the situation brilliantly. At the top of his jump he palmed the ball down brilliantly to flanker Ioan Edwards who again emphasised his great mobility and footballing skill by gathering and scoring in the corner.  

Twelve nil up and Brecon looked to be cruising even at this early stage. That illusion was quickly shattered. In spite of a couple of great runs by Darren Witcomb and Davey Herdman, Blaenavon latched on to a poor pass. They then won a rare penalty at the scrum and went for a line out deep in the Brecon 22. Their drive was help but the flank of the maul was left unguarded and flanker Dafydd Cripps broke through to the line. Scott Lewis kicked the first of four conversions and Blaenavon were back in the game.

The game then followed a distinct pattern as far as the 50th minute. Brecon would score and almost immediately Blaenavon would hit back. First Brecon increased their lead with a brilliant try. Shane (Disco) Davies showed lovely hands to give centre partner Tom Richards some space. Man of the match, Richards, then made a lovely outside break before feeding Jake Crockett on the inside. The full back had a lot of work to do but he did it brilliantly and Brecon’s lead increased with his try and Gunter’s conversion.

Immediately Blaenavon hit back. Brecon left their blind side short of numbers and wing Alec Morgan made the most of the space as he danced between would be tackles to score. Then Scott Lewis kicked a penalty to add to the conversion to trim the deficit back to 2.

That score prompted Brecon to hit back. From an early second half scrum Shane Davies went close before hooker Ryan Williams crashed over with Gunter again converting. Back came Blaenavon. Brecon failed to clear a kick ahead and wing Alec Morgan kicked ahead and won the race to the line. The conversion was a formality. The see saw nature of the game continued as Brecon hit back with a series of scrums and mauls which eventually led to the referee awarding a penalty try. Then for the first time since the opening ten minutes Brecon posted successive scores. Dean Gunter kicked two successive penalties to open a gap which was widened with a great try. Lively scrum half Scott Gibson got his back line going and the centre partnership of Richards and Davies combined beautifully to put Lewys Cooke over in the corner. Again Gunter converted and Brecon now had 22 point lead.

That lead was further extended when one of wing Owen Morgan’s many impressive runs led to a try. In the final phase he linked with replacement wing Dafydd Edwards who gave second row Will Prosser a scoring pass. Prosser deserved the score for the hard grafting work he had put in throughout the afternoon.

This wasn’t quite the final act of the day. Blaenavon had battled hard throughout and were well in the game past the 50 minute mark before being blown away. They deserved something out of the game and with the final play of the day they got what they deserved, a fourth bonus point try. They pressurised Brecon deep in the home 22 through numerous phases and finally they broke through for a closing converted try.

Now thoughts turn to Christmas and the New Year before Brecon face an incredibly challenging start to 2020. On the fourth of January they face old rivals and title contenders, Penallta at Parc de Pugh before travelling to league leaders, Newbridge for a Plate quarter final on 11th. These two matches could well prove to be decisive as far as league and Plate ambitions are concerned.