Nelson RFC | 1st Team 19 - 31 Brecon RFC | 1st Team
Jake Crockett
2 Try
Cameron Gardner
1 Try
Dean Gunter
4 Conversion
1 Drop Goal
Peter Alan Taylor
1 Try

Match Report
03 March 2019 / Team News

Nelson 19 - Brecon 31

In order to climb a mountain you have to take it step at a time and often as you get closer to the top so the bigger the steps become. That was the case when Brecon travelled to Nelson to compete in the quarter final of the WRU Plate. Some difficult steps had been overcome in previous rounds when Brecon travelled to Rumney and Rhiwbina but the journey to Nelson, perhaps, proved to be the steepest of all to date. Brecon have already played Nelson twice this season and have come away victorious on both occasions. With that history and with Nelson having an up and down season Brecon could have expected a fairly comfortable passage into the Plate semi final. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Nelson were competitive in every area across the field and Brecon didn’t seal the victory until the last move of the match was completed. Hard though it was the step was successfully negotiated and Brecon now are within site of the top with a place in the final four, one more major step, perhaps, and they can at least savour the view.

The game was played in dry windy conditions with the forecast rain holding off until after the final whistle. The cross wind, however, was difficult and caused problems at times for the kickers. Both sides sparred with one another in the opening exchanges with both defences looking strong and effective. At the line out honours were even with each side winning their own throw cleanly. At scrum time, however, Brecon decidedly had the edge and from this phase were able to put Nelson under pressure. After ten minutes and slightly against the run of play the home team were first on the scoreboard. Right wing Alex Edmunds was shown the outside and showed great pace on the outside to break out of his own half and threatened make it all the way to the line. Brecon full back Eifion Jones pulled off a great tackle to halt the move but Nelson earned a penalty which outside half Ross Jones converted.

Brecon hit back immediately. Jon James set off on a barnstorming run from the kick off and at the following scrum Brecon’s marginal superiority earned them a penalty. Dean Gunter kicked the ball into touch on the home 22 and Ioan Edwards soared high to win good ball. The ball was moved into mid-field and Cameron Gardner made a great clean break towards the posts. Cover arrived but he had the strength to cross the line. Dean Gunter had no problems with the conversion.

Almost immediately Brecon extended their lead. An attack down the left flank gave Jake Crockett some space. He put in a beautifully weighted chip and won the race to the ball. He hacked on over the line and completed the score under the posts. Again Gunter had a simple conversion.

With two quick scores under their belts after almost 30 minutes of play it would have been easy to believe that the game would flow fairly comfortably in favour of the visitors. Nelson quickly dispelled that notion.

Before half time Nelson delivered a double repost. The first came as a result of good creative play which opened up the Brecon defence. Centre Alec Jones made the first break through mid-field on half way. He was halted on the Brecon 22 but Nelson kept the ball alive through a number of phases and finally impressive prop Zac Pearce burst through for a try. They followed that up with a Ross Jones penalty to reduce Brecon’s lead to just three points.

Brecon looked to hit back before half time but in spite of some good build-up play, which again featured Cameron Gardner, they failed to cross the line and at half time the game was in the balance.

Brecon decidedly started the second half far better that the home side. Scrum half Geraint Workman took a quick tap penalty inside his half and a flowing move, in which Dafydd Edwards featured with a weaving run, should have resulted in a try as Crockett and Lewys Cooke just failed to combine and complete the move. It wasn’t long, however, before Brecon made amends with a beautifully constructed try. Eifion Jones, who had moved into the centre after injury to Sam Campbell, cut through beautifully. Jake Crockett came off his wing in support and cut a beautiful line towards the posts. His second try gave Gunter no problem with the conversion. Brecon extended their lead with a Dean Gunter penalty and for a second time in the match they appeared to be pulling away. Also for a second time that idea was immediately dispelled. Brecon failed to control the ball from the kick off and Nelson earned a scrum on 5 metres. Powerful and impressive No 8 Jarred Walters broke and scored. The game now swept from one end to the other with both sides having the opportunity to score but with both failing to complete until Craig Wilson struck a penalty to cut Nelson’s deficit to just 5 points.

With 15 minutes to go the game was definitely up for grabs. Nelson came close at first. From a driving line out they were held up over the line. Then, from the following scrum five, Walters broke. He was effectively tackled by Workman and Brecon captain Ewan Williams brilliantly won a penalty as he forced Walters to hold on. From there Brecon lifted the siege and finished strongly. Ryan James made a great run and Eifion Jones kicked beautifully for the corner. Nelson had the put in to the line out on their 5 metre line but they were under pressure. Ewan Williams competed effectively and the ball was knocked down into the hands of veteran Brecon hooker, Alan Taylor. With just 5 metres to go he still had a lot to do as but he brushed aside the attentions of the defending forwards and planted the ball over the line to the delight of the whole of the Brecon contingent. Dean Gunter’s conversion from wide out and through a difficult wind added the icing to the cake with the final whistle blowing immediately after the conversion. Brecon left the Park elated not just at the win but by the fact that they had overcome a very strong and effective challenge from a team which battled effectively to the end. Now the semi-final beckons with everybody eager to see who Brecon will draw and where the game will be played on 30th March.