Brecon RFC | 1st Team 29 - 9 Abertillery / Blaenau Gwent RFC | 1st Team
Ryan Price
Try 2
Jake Newman
Try 1
Ewan Williams
Try 1
Dean Gunter
Conversion 3
Penalty 1

Match Report
22 October 2017 / Team News

Brecon 29 - Abertillery BG 9

For the first time this season Brecon took to the field in difficult playing conditions. Although the ground looked perfect it was very wet after the rain and wind associated with storm Brian and throughout the game the persistent rain and strong wind made conditions very difficult. In many ways the large crowd were fortunate to witness an entertaining game when so many league matches, on this wet and blustery autumnal day, succumbed to the adverse weather.

Having had such a successful start to the season while playing an expansive game one wondered how Brecon would adapt to the unhelpful conditions. To date their game has been based on a sound forward platform and width, tempo and mobility. It was, therefore, quite a challenge to play in conditions which were far more suited to a big heavy pack of forwards supported by accurate kicking and a defensively aggressive back division.

To Brecon’s credit they showed from the start that they were not prepared to throw away their ambition and belief in their ability to handle and create space. Accurate kicking and fielding the slippery ball obviously had a greater significance on the day and in Dean Gunter Brecon possessed an excellent controller, kicker and distributor. They also showed great skill in gathering threatening high kicks with both full back Jake Newman and wing Jake Crockett unerrig in this department. However, the catch of the day had to be accredited to captain and Man of the match Ewan Williams. In the second half he covered considerable ground before leaping in the air, under considerable pressure, taking the ball cleanly and continuing his surge forward even when slipping onto his knees. There was no doubting that Ewan led his pack by example and they supported him brilliantly in face of much bigger opponents in what was a tight forward battle.

Often in such conditions the outside backs are almost bystanders but this was not the case at Parc de Pugh. Brecon’s backs showed great courage in being prepard to handle the ball and to get the ball wide even when deep in their own half. Sometimes mistakes were made but overall they were threatening and this was emphasised by the fact that three of their four tries were picked up by wing and full back and came from some lovely handling, pace and elusive running.

Obviously the performance wasn’t perfect against both the conditions and a dogged opposition which certainly performed better than the two wins from their previous six matches suggested. However, a sixth bonus point win in the midst of storm Brian was a very satisfying achievement.

Brecon started the game well and made good headway against the wind. Jake Newman almost created a scoring opportunity with a lovely chip over the flat defence but in the slippery conditions his pass culd not be held. Darren Witcomb continued his outstanding form this season, with his carrying regularly taking him across the gain-line but too often when moves looked promising Brecon gave away penalties as Abertillery forwards made life difficult at the breakdown. In fact it was Abertillery who scored first when Brecon were again penalised.

Brecon struck back immediately. Gunter’s kick gave them a line out deep in opposition territory. They gained momentum from a drive and then edged forward from the next scrum to allow Ewan Williams to drive through a tackle on the line and score. Gunter converted.

Abertillery trimmed the lead with another penalty when again Brecon were caught trying to dig the ball out of a ruck. Brecon again responded with some superb back play. Gunter’s take and give was superb and Cameron Gardner cut through the home defence before giving Jake Newman a try scoring pass. Gunter again converted.

With the half drawing towards its close Abertillery needed to reduce the deficit before they lost the advantage of the wind. They drove off a line out and maintained continuity through a series of forward pick and drives. Brecon’s defence held up well but again their over eagerness at breakdown resulted in a penalty and the lead was trimmed back to 5 points.

As the clock ticked towards half time Brecon restored their 8 point advantage when Gunter kicked a penalty after a promising run out of defence which featured a lovely switch between young wing Ryan Price and Dean Gunter.

Brecon, with a lead in hand, now had the advantage of the wind. However, Abertillery made life difficult for the home team in the opening exchanges of the half. Again Brecon feel foul of the referee’s interpretation at the breakdown and Abertillery keep the ball tight and went through numerous phases but without ever really threatening.

Finally Brecon broke out of defence. They showed ambition to move the ball in their 22 and then when in space Newman put in a great kick which led to a line out deep in the visitors 22. Andy Nicholl was just held up over the line but Brecon’s pressure told and when Brecon’s forwards released the ball Jake Crockett came in off the left wing to make the extra man and put right wing Ryan Price in for a try which Gunter converted from wide out.

Price got his second try when a lovely hand off gave him space to outstrip the defence and score in the corner. From there on the game was played exclusively in the visitors half but although Brecon came close they couldn't quite capitalise on their territorial advantage and the game drifted towards its climax giving Brecon their sixth bonus point win in seven league matches. The second XV added towards the feel good factor when they posted a 31 points to 7 win over Caerphilly, their fourth league from four league matches.