Bonymaen RFC | 1st Team 16 - 24 Brecon RFC | 1st Team
Dean Gunter
3 Conversion
1 Penalty
Ioan Edwards
1 Try
Ewan Williams
1 Try
Scott Gibson
1 Try

Match Report
17 November 2019 / Team News

Bonymaen 16 - Brecon 24

After a Walk Over in the second round of the Plate, Brecon could not have been handed a more difficult draw than that which faced them as they travelled to Swansea in defence of the WRU Plate. Their opponents Bonymaen were last season’s defeated finalists and undoubtedly relished the opportunity of revenge particularly on their home patch. In addition they have started the league season well in Division 1 West Central. From their seven outings to date they had lost just once and currently stood proudly at the top of the table. For them there was huge motivation to overturn last season’s Plate Final defeat at the hands of their current opponents. While Brecon would, of course, have preferred an easier draw at this early stage of the competition there was the pragmatic view that in order to win they have to beat the best no matter at what stage of the competition they encounter them. It was not surprising therefore, given the recent history of the two clubs, that the match drew a lot of attention with a large contingent of Brecon supporters turning out to support their team.

The game itself lived up to expectations. With little to choose between the sides the result depended upon which side could create something special or on which side could avoid costly errors. It was a credit to both sides that scoring opportunities came as a result of creative play rather than a reliance on sitting back and waiting for mistakes.

Bonymaen on home territory started the better of the two teams. From the kick off and playing down the slope, they put Brecon’s defence under considerable pressure. This was a critical period during which Brecon needed to be well organised and show pace off the defensive line. This they did well with defensive captain Sam Campbell leading by example and with the likes of Alwyn Lee and Richie Davies tackling low and not allowing their opponents any momentum across the gain line. Bonymaen did win one kickable penalty but the kick was wayward and the Bonymaen effort brought no tangible reward.

Thanks to the efforts of the front row trio of Andy Nicholl, Ryan Williams and Richie Davies, Brecon’s scrum began to gain the upper hand and this was to prove critical as the game progressed. With the likes of Jon James, Davey Herdman and Ewan Williams now getting ball in hand and driving hard at their opponents the Brecon backs began to see more of the ball and half chances were created most of which involved Owen Morgan who looked for work and featured in a number of promising attacks. It was on the opposite wing, however, that the best chance came. Alwyn Lee made a surging run out of his half. Brought down on the home ten metre line the ball was recycled quickly and moved right. Eifion Jones ran strongly and a gap opened up only for the pass to be dropped and the chance lost.

With Brecon now looking the more dominant team, Bonymaen suddenly showed what a dangerous team they were. From an unpromising position on their own 22 and wide on the right, their scrum came under pressure. Accomplished scrum half, Gareth Andrew, just managed to clean up the untidy ball and linked with his forwards. After a drive which drew in the Brecon defence the ball was swept wide and dangerous full back Lawrence Thomas broke into open space. He fed lively wing Nathan Brooks who chipped ahead. He got to the ball first and scored in the corner.

The score rattled Brecon and for a period they lost composure as a series of line out inaccuracies and handling errors thwarted their attempts to get back into the game. Scrum half Scott Gibson identified the need to be direct and increase the tempo. When a penalty came just in his own half he took a quick tap and made good ground with Davey Herdman carrying into the home 22. From there Brecon worked towards the line and when a scrum was awarded on the home five metre line there was the expectation that with their dominance at this phase a score would come. Such an assumption ignored the resolution of the home team’s defence. They held the scrum and drove every Brecon attacker back until finally relieving the siege when scrum half Andrew made a great break out of his 22 and put Bonymaen into a dangerous attacking position with a line out just seven metres short of Brecon’s line. Having failed to score at one end Brecon now faced the prospect of having to defend against a powerful Bonymaen driving maul. That did not materialise as a magnificent leap by Ioan Edwards to steal the ball brought much needed relief.

With the half now drawing to a close Brecon threw everything into attack. Tom Richards on the right wing made a great break and fed Jake Crockett. There was half a chance but a great tackle from full back Thomas drove Crockett into touch. That was followed by an even closer call when Eifion Jones made a great break and put Crockett in space. This time he was bundled into touch on the try line by a magnificent cover tackle by left wing Brooks.

With the half time whistle bringing a pause, both teams were glad of the time to re-set and re-focus in order to start the half with a bang. For Brecon, however, this is not what was played out. They made errors while trying to run out of their half rather than kicking down the slope. This allowed Bonymaen to gain a foothold in Brecon’s territory and although Brecon’s defence held firm they had to concede a penalty which Richard Cunnliffe converted to extend the lead to 8 points.

Now Brecon had to be the next to score and quickly, or the game could be lost. It was now that the increasingly potent Brecon scrum played its part. A scrum penalty allowed Dean Gunter to reduce the arrears as he slotted home a kick from a difficult angle. The score lifted Brecon and they put Bonymaen under increasing pressure.  Tom Richards again made a great run after gathering a kick and although the ball was lost Davey Herdman won a great turn-over penalty. Brecon went for the corner and when their maul was dragged down opted for a scrum on 5 metres. This time Brecon’s power was rewarded as the pack drove over the home line for Ewan Williams to score. Gunter converted from a wide angle and for the first time Brecon took the lead.

With confidence boosted and the momentum with them Brecon now produced some of their best rugby. Sam Campbell made good ground off a flat Gunter pass and then from a scrum on the home ten metre line Ewan Williams fed scrum half Gibson. Owen Morgan made an incursion into the line off his wing and fed full back Crockett who broke through the stout home defence. As he was closed down by the cover he picked out Ioan Edwards on a great supporting run with a magnificent wide, flat pass. Ioan ran in under the posts and Gunter converted.

Bonymaen bravely hit back after they were awarded a penalty and went to the corner. Brecon kept their line intact but couldn’t stop Cunliffe from adding a penalty to get them back to a single score. The game was still in the balance and Bonymaen threatened. Another kick to the corner put Brecon under pressure and when the overthrow was picked up by lively flanker James Osbourne alarm bells were ringing. He was brought down just short and Dean Gunter won what was possibly a try saving penalty as he did a flankers job by getting his hands on the ball and forcing the Bonymaen player to hold on. Gunter cleared and suddenly Bonymaen were forced to defend. Herdman was again to the forefront as he stole a ball on the ground. Swift hands gave Tom Richards the smallest of spaces and he used it brilliantly to beat a defender and set off down the wing. As the final defenders closed him down he found the perfect pass to Scott Gibson who ran in from the 22 to score in the corner. Gunter’s conversion was a magnificent effort and now with just minutes to go Brecon held a 13 point lead.

All of those final minutes were spent in the Brecon half as Bonymaen desperately tried to come up with a score and score they did as outside half Cunnliffe went over in the corner but as his conversion failed so the final whistle sounded; cruelly for Bonymaen but with Brecon still able to dream on.