Pontypool United RFC | 1st Team 19 - 22 Brecon RFC | 1st Team
Lewis Evans
1 Try
Jake Crockett
1 Try
Dean Gunter
2 Conversion
1 Penalty
Joe Evans
1 Try

Match Report
05 November 2017 / Team News

Pontypool Utd 19 - Brecon 22

Brecon’s performance at Pontypool could best be described as classic Jekyll and Hyde. For the first 50 minutes they played with pace and precision, held a comfortable 22 points to 9 lead and were on the verge of gaining their fourth bonus point try. All of that changed in an instant. Deep in the Pontypool 22 Brecon’s attack had stretched the Pontypool defence to its limit. A dummy switch in front of the posts drew the defence and with a two man overlap on the left a try seemed certain. The try was scored but at the other end of the field as the United full back intercepted the scoring pass and raced, virtually the length of the field and completely unchallenged, to score under the posts. His accomplished outside half added the conversion to reduce their deficit to six points.

Even at that stage and with 30 minutes to go, the final scenario seemed unlikely. Brecon had controlled the game from the start. They scored three excellent tries against three penalties from the accomplished boot of the Pontypool outside half. The interception try appeared, at first, as just a minor setback with normal service to be resumed as soon as possible. Unfortunately for Brecon this was not the case. The Hyde character certainly raised his ugly head as Brecon lost their way and Pontypool grew in confidence and pressed for what, for the greater part of the game, had seemed an unlikely win. They reduced the deficit to just three points with another penalty and were pressing hard when the final whistle blew to the relief of the Brecon team and its supporters.

It would be hard to put your finger on what changed the character of the game so dramatically. However, it was clear that a number of factors were involved. The score undoubtedly lifted the Pontypool team, which up to that point was showing signs of succumbing to Brecon’s pace and intensity. Their forwards, who were starting to look jaded and picking up injury after injury, were revitalised. Brecon by contrast seemed to lose their intensity and accuracy. Their confidence in keeping the ball in hand and attacking deserted them and their kicking instead of finding space offered the opportunity of counter attack. The quick ruck ball generated in the earlier stages of the game dried up and added to that they made mistakes which the Pontypool players pounced on.

Yet, and in spite of the disappointment that accompanied the dip in the quality of performance, this was an important away win, their fourth from five away league matches to date. There were also long periods of quality rugby and some excellent individual performances. Their three tries highlighted all that was good about Brecon’s rugby this season.

The first try came after Dean Gunter had put Brecon ahead with a well struck penalty. Brecon first attacked down the right with second row Mark Squirrel making a great run and delivering quick ruck ball. From the break-down the ball was moved left with pace and accuracy and Jake Crockett was put clear for a score which Gunter converted.

Pontypool hit back with two penalties but Brecon soon forged further ahead with another lovely try. Dean Gunter started the move with a kick into home territory. The ball was moved right and wing Ryan Price came close to scoring. Brecon recycled and were awarded a scrum ten metres short of the home line. Gunter and Eifion Jones worked a neat move in mid field and the ball was delivered to full back Joe Evans who crossed unhampered. Gunter again converted. Pontypool kicked a third penalty before half time but the game was decidedly in Brecon’s hands.

The opening ten minutes of the second half was all Brecon. Davey Herdman and captain Ewan Williams were outstanding whether carrying the ball or making a nuisance of themselves at the breakdown. Initially Brecon came close with a neat move down the right flank and then had an opportunity which was spurned when from two successive penalties they opted to kick to touch on 5 metres. Both attacks were repulsed, as was an opportunity from a scrum on 5 metres but when the try came, it was a classic. Ioan Edwards won great off the top ball at the line out and it was passed crisply into midfield where roaming left wing Jake Crockett made a lovely break and then timed his pass beautifully to wing Lewis Evans who darted in at the corner.

All was going well as Brecon quickly returned to the offensive in search of a bonus point try. The story of the transformation has already been told and Brecon left Pontypool with the win they wanted but with something to think about in the week leading up to their top of the table clash at home with leaders Penallta next Saturday. 

Brecon’s team and supporters arrived back in Brecon with the news that their other senior teams, the 2nd XV and Youth had pulled off big wins in their respective matches with the 2nd XV trouncing Porth Quins by 65 points to 9  and the Youth recording a 54 points to nil victory at Tylorstown.