Brecon RFC | 1st Team 28 - 23 Glamorgan Wanderers RFC | 1st Team
Jake Crockett
Try 2
Dean Gunter
Conversion 2
Penalty 3
Eifion Jones
Try 1

Match Report
12 May 2019 / Team News

Brecon 28 - Glamorgan Wanderers 23

As the season reaches its climax there is no let-up in terms of the challenges that Brecon 1st XV face. After the previous four matches in two weeks served up the monumental achievement of a Plate and League double, Brecon now faced Glamorgan Wanderers, winners of parallel league East Central 1, in a double header to determine which of the two sides will progress to the Championship next season. Glamorgan Wanderers have a proud history having been one of the elite of Welsh Rugby prior to the introduction of a National League structure and having spent six years as a Premiership Club since that time. Their life as a Premiership Club ended in 2011 and after a rebuilding period they are now looking to climb towards that goal once again. Standing in their way are a youthful predominantly local and relatively inexperienced Brecon side who to date have swept all before them. In winning the league and Plate they responded and overcame massive challenges but now in this double header the stakes are even higher. The new challenge is proving to be massive in its own right both in terms of the physical size and experience of their opponents and in terms of having to respond yet again, both physically and mentally, at the end of an intense period of rugby. With the first of the double header being played at Parc de Pugh on a beautiful spring afternoon and in front of a large crowd, there was no question that it was essential that they were not intimidated by the reputation and size of their opponents.

Brecon certainly started the match the brighter of the two opponents. They played with pace and intensity and put the visitors under pressure. Certain facets of play became clear even at this early stage. Brecon’s scrum held a slight edge over their opponents with Andy Nicholl, Richie Davies and Ryan Williams making life uncomfortable for the Wanderers front row. By contrast the line out was far from secure and winning the ball on their throw could not be guaranteed. In the loose Brecon were certainly combative. During these early exchanges Jon James, Darren Witcomb and Ryan Williams carried aggressively and it took some brave Wanderers’ tackling to hold them in check. However, hold them in check they did as their defence was tested to the full. Suddenly the game swung away from the home side. On the ten minute mark Wanderers mounted their first attack and looked to move the ball wide. Outside half Luke Fish made one of his few handling errors of the day as a pass fell aimlessly behind his back line near the home ten metre line. The bouncing ball caused confusion in the Brecon defence and left wing Cameron Gibbon made the most of his opportunity. He showed pace on the outside and then put in a neat chip which he re-gathered and crossed the line for the opening score. Fish, who struck the ball beautifully all afternoon, converted.

With the visitor’s confidence boosted by the score Brecon had to dig deep to try to restore parity on the scoreboard. The back row of Davey Herman, Ioan Edwards and Ewan Williams worked hard at the breakdown and as support runners. Sam Campbell and Eifion Jones were impressive as both mid-field defenders and attackers. Unfortunately Brecon were hampered by their inability to capitalise on good positions as a result of their failure to secure line possession in threatening areas of the field. Still behind with quarter of the match completed Brecon needed something to show for their efforts and it finally came through a lovely piece of interplay. Brecon won ball at a line out on their opponents 22 and initially drove. As the drive was halted Ewan Williams broke off. He was tackled but the ball was recycled quickly and Sam Campbell drove hard over the gain line and sucked in defenders. Again the ball was re-cycled quickly and this time Gunter worked a neat switch with Eifion Jones who not only hit the line at pace and on a lovely angle but showed strength to make the line for a try which Gunter converted.

Thwarted by the loss of their advantage Wanderers hit back hard. Gibbon threatened again but this time Ryan Price pulled off a great covering tap tackle to prevent a score. The game ebbed and flowed with neither side gaining ascendancy. Finally Wanderers regained the lead after Brecon gave away a penalty just outside the 22. The kick was easy for Fish as was the responding penalty goal from Gunter after the Wanderers were caught offside at the kick off. With ten minutes to go to half time the score was again level. The final ten minutes of the half was evenly balanced with defences holding the upper hand but on the stroke of half time Fish regained the lead for his team with his second penalty.

Almost immediately after the resumption Fish extended the lead with his third penalty. Brecon had to hit back and they did through the boot of Dean Gunter. Davey Herdman and Jake Crockett combined and Brecon won a penalty almost on half way and wide out. Gunter stuck the ball magnificently to pull the deficit back to three points.

From the kick off Brecon lost the ball and it took some outstanding defensive work first from Richie Davies and then Davey Herdman, after a horrid bounce from a loose kick ahead caused panic. Having survived the scare Brecon returned to the attack. Lewys Cooke weaved his way down the right flank and after a period of continuity Brecon were awarded with a penalty which Gunter kicked to level.

Within minutes of the score the Wanderers were reduced to 14 men as Max Wooton was shown a yellow card. Brecon looked to capitalise on their numerical advantage. They imposed huge pressure deep in the visitors 22. With scrum half Geraint Workman prompting attack after attack and sniping around the fringes a score seemed certain but the Wanderers defended as if their lives depended on it. Jon James crossed the line but failed to ground the ball and at the ensuing scrum everyone anticipated that Brecon would take control against a depleted visiting pack. However, on this occasion the Wanderers pack gained the upper hand and won a relieving penalty. The chance seemed to have gone particularly as Glamorgan Wanderers moved dangerously deep into Brecon territory. Suddenly Brecon turned defence into attack. Darren Witcomb pulled off a great turn-over in his 22. Bravely the ball was moved wide and Jake Crockett found some space. He broke between two defenders and crossed half way. With cover coming across he chipped ahead and when last defender failed to gather the bouncing ball he pounced for a magnificent length of the field try and Brecon led for the first time in the game.  

With just ten minutes to go Brecon grew in confidence and took the game to their opponents. Fresh legs in Dafydd Edwards, Elgan Lewis, Will Prosser and Howell Morgan helped to maintain the momentum. Edwards almost broke through before Brecon won a scrum on the 22. The ball popped out and an opportunity seemed to have been lost but Lewys Cooke gathered turned and changed the direction of the attack quite brilliantly. Some good hands moved the ball to Crockett and he claimed his second try which Gunter converted to give Brecon a 12 point lead with minutes remaining. As the game entered time added on for injury so Wanderers emphatically pulled themselves back into the tie. The won a penalty near the Brecon line and opted for a scrum. They won the ball cleanly and moved it through the backs. Brecon’s defence held through a number of phases until Fish, at outside half, made the most of his bulk and charged over for a try which he converted. The final whistle left the tie finely balanced. Brecon have the advantage of the win and a five point lead but with the next match in Cardiff on 18th it is still all to play for.