Fixture

Dowlais RFC | 1st Team 13 - 29 Brecon RFC | 1st Team
Jake Newman
3 Conversion
1 Penalty
William Prosser
1 Try
Josh Pritchard
1 Try
Ryan Price
1 Try
Ben Griffin
1 Try

Match Report
19 September 2021 / Team News

Dowlais 13 - Brecon 29

Brecon travelled to Dowlais, following their derby match defeat to local rivals Builth Wells, knowing that if they were to keep their Plate ambitions alive they had to put in a match winning performance against a side that had ambitions of their own. Much of the focus for coaches Matthew Lewis and Wayne Morris, during the pre-match week, was on re-building confidence and looking at how the team could effectively impose their pattern of play on the match; something that Builth had not allowed them to do.

From the first whistle it was clear that lessons had been learned as Brecon quickly got into their stride with their high tempo game seeking to stretch the bulkier Dowlais team. Much the lighter of the two packs Brecon effectively kept the ball alive through great support, good hands and hard straight running. Captain Davey Herdman and his back row colleagues Ioan Edwards and Ryan James all impressed as they carried and linked beautifully. With Hooker Josh Pritchard also chipping in with a couple of great turn overs it seemed only a matter of time before Brecon would open the scoring but they had to contend with some impressive Dowlais defence and it became clear that Brecon would have to be patient and earn every single point.

Brecon failed to take the first opportunity to open the scoring when a penalty was missed but after a wonderful Herdman offload they earned a second penalty chance which Jake Newman converted.

With the game being almost exclusively played in the Dowlais half Brecon soon created another opportunity to score. Second Row partners, Rowan Starkey and Will Prosser, showed they could both carry the hard yards and link effectively in the build up to the first try and it was Prosser who finally burst through the stubborn Dowlais defence to score near the posts. Newman converted.

Within minutes Brecon extended the lead. Props Richie Davies and Iwan Dowling-Jones showed running and handling skills which would not have looked out of place in a back line and they created the position for the backs to finish. Morgan Price, who put in an impressive performance at outside half, whipped the ball wide and full back Jake Newman cut a lovely angle and gave a beautifully timed pass to wing Ryan Price who left the defenders in his wake as he scored in the corner. Newman converted beautifully.

At seventeen points down the game was rapidly slipping away from Dowlais and they needed to respond. From the kick off they hit back. A long kick into the Brecon 22 gave them a line out in an attacking position. Brecon’s defence held but they conceded a penalty which outside half Sion Martin converted. Within minutes he struck again and Dowlais were back in the game. However, the half finished with Brecon in the ascendancy. Jake Newman put in a wonderfully ambitious and accurate wide kick when deep in the Brecon half. Wing Jake Crockett gathered and beautifully beat a few would be defenders before chipping over the final line of defence. A try looked almost a certainty but as he burst between two defenders he was impeded and Dowlais cleared.

Brecon started the second half as they did the first but now with more confidence allowing to show that they were prepared to run from deep. From one such long range attack Ryan Price showed great pace and threatened as he chipped ahead only for some great cover by Dowlais scrum half Ceri Morgan to frustrate him in the corner. However, an attacking position had been gained and from a drive at a shortened line out hooker Josh Pritchard broke away to score in the corner.

With a sixteen point advantage Brecon threw caution to the wind. They opened up from everywhere and threatened only for the final pass to be inaccurate and they also left themselves open to errors deep in their own territory. A dropped ball in the Brecon 22 allowed Dowlais to hack on and gather near the Brecon line. They drove hard and eventually prop James Churchill crashed over for a try which Martin converted. Now just nine points adrift they began to look threatening. Brecon made a number of changes with Ewan Williams and Darren Witcomb making their first appearances of the season. Their experience was valuable as Dowlais threw everything at Brecon. Witcomb put in some great hits in defence and Williams looked to have lost little of his composure and skill in the long lay-off. A rare poor pass in the Brecon half gave Dowlais another chance but some superb defence, in which Cameron Gardner was an absolute rock, held Dowlais at bay and gradually the siege was lifted. By now the Brecon front Row of Richie Davies, Josh Pritchard and Iwan Dowling –Jones began to take control at the scrum and this gave Brecon a good platform. Gardner showed his attacking prowess and with supporting runs from Witcomb, Williams, Davies and Herdman Brecon put Dowlais under intense pressure but their defence held for a time. Finally, however, where the forwards had failed to cross the try line, wing Ben Griffin showed them how to do it as he burst onto the ball at pace and scored under the posts, making the Newman conversion a formality.

Into the final minutes Brecon should have scored again particularly after a great break by lively scrum half Sam Hellard but they had to be satisfied with an excellent bonus point away win. Now all thoughts will turn to the return match against Builth at Parc de Pugh next Saturday. After their first encounter Brecon know that they will have to be at their very best if they are to gain revenge. Undoubtedly it is a match to savour with not just Plate points at stake but also local bragging rights. Such matches do not come round too often and surely the rugby communities of Brecon and Builth will have the match very much in focus as the week progresses.

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