Fixture

Porth Harlequins RFC | 1st Team 19 - 31 Brecon RFC | 1st Team
Jake Newman
4 Conversion
1 Penalty
Ewan Williams
1 Try
Owen Morgan
1 Try
Dafydd Edwards
1 Try
Iwan Dowling Jones
1 Try
Andrew Nicholl
1 Try

Match Report
17 October 2021 / Team News

Porth Quins 19 - Brecon 31

Finally Brecon 1st XV returned to action following four weeks of inactivity. That period included two postponed WRU Plate matches and so it was a welcome return to rugby even if the fixture was a friendly match at Porth. To say that this was a non-competitive fixture would have totally misrepresented the nature of the game and the quality of the rugby played by both sides. As old rivals, there was a lot at stake, and for Brecon, in particular, it was a much needed run out before their two final WRU Plate Pool matches. On a balmy, calm, autumn afternoon the two sides produced a match full of flowing rugby with a total of eight tries being scored.  

Coaches, Matthew Lewis and Wayne Morris will have learned a lot from the match, both on the positive side and in terms of areas that need to be worked on. Certainly on the positive side they will have been pleased to see that in his first full match since the start of the Covid Break , captain Ewan Williams looked in good shape with his dynamic running and general rugby skills to the fore. His chip over the defence laid the foundation for Dafydd Edwards’ try and he took his own try brilliantly as he gathered a wonderful pop pass from prop Richie Davies. Jake Newman made a rare appearance at outside half and he kicked beautifully, played flat on the gain line and orchestrated his backs effectively. In the centre Ollie Lewis had an outstanding game. In defence he was immense and was a handful in attack. Alongside him in the centre Jake Crockett was his usual elusive self and his pace and cover in defence was particularly valuable when Brecon were reduced to fourteen men for most of the second half. Owen Morgan, making a return to the side at full back, was as threatening on the counter attack as always, and even though he seems to have lost some fitness during the long lay-off, he will have shown enough to put himself in contention for a regular first team place particularly after finishing off a wonderful flowing move with a try in the corner. Andy Nicholl, who returned at prop after injury, was a real powerhouse. With him on the field Brecon dominated the scrum and he was powerful on the charge with one effort being rewarded with a try. Fellow prop Iwan Dowling Jones also impressed in the tight and with his mobility around the field and he too was rewarded when he scored Brecon’s first try after a wonderful Ewan Williams run. In the second row Will Prosser impressed. Ever ready to carry he did his job to great effect as time and again he broke through the gain line and looked to support well. Others in the pack included Ioan Edwards, Ryan James, Rowan Starkey and Rhys Evans, all of whom played well, while in the backs Scott Gibson and Sam Hellard looked sharp at scrum half and Ben Griffin and Ryan Price added a lot of pace on the wings.

On the down side, probably the coaches will look at Brecon’s failure to capitalise great attacking positions, particularly off attacking line outs. They competed well on opposition ball but frequently failed to secure their own line out when in sight of the try line. Their driving maul also generally failed. Not in the initial set and drive but through lack of concentration which allowed their opponents to kill the ball or resulted in knock ons or poor presentation. There has to be a concern also about the team structure. When hooker Rhys Evans was injured, after a great showing in the first 50 minutes of the match, Brecon had no nominated hooker on the bench. That resulted in the game operating with passive scrums but with Brecon reduced to 14 men and with one of the backs having to play in the scrum. There was also an issue with line out throwing, a role which Ewan Williams had to fulfil in the absence of Rhys Evans. The overall disruption affected Brecon’s performance and allowed Porth to work their way back into the game and to reduce the deficit to just seven points before Brecon finally pulled away with their last try. If there was one other failing then it was that often the ball was lost in promising situations as a result of over ambitious passing or offloads.  However, there are fine margins in these situations and coaches Lewis and Morris will not want to stifle the ambition which at times created opportunities and on two occasions led directly to tries.

For the game itself Porth played a full part in providing entertainment and testing opposition. Brecon started brilliantly with Iwan Dowling Jones finishing a great move which featured a wonderful Ewan Williams break and a storming Andy Nicholl drive. Porth’s response was exemplary. They kept possession through numerous phases and then identified the space behind a flat defence. A beautifully weighted chip over that defence was collected and scores were level. They almost immediately took the lead. With Brecon attacking in the home 22 a flat pass was intercepted and the Porth centre had the pace to run 80 metres to score under the posts. With the conversion added, Porth took a 7 point lead. Brecon hit back with a beautifully constructed try. Some great continuity and accurate passing created space wide out for Owen Morgan to race in for a try which Jake Newman converted beautifully from the touch line. The game then entered a phase where both teams were prepared to attack from anywhere but for a time defences held firm until Jake Crockett made a break and Ben Griffin showed great pace on the outside before running out of room. Sensibly he took the tackle and kept the ball in play. From the breakdown near the line Andy Nicholl was unstoppable. Newman again converted as the half time whistle blew. Brecon scored again at the start of the second half with Dafydd Edwards collecting Ewan Williams’ chip ahead. Brecon then lost Rhys Evans and the resulting rejigging of the side reduced their efficiency. Porth took advantage and started to dominate territory and possession. The defensive effort, led by Ollie Lewis, was effective but eventually Brecon started to give away penalties under pressure and from a quick tap Porth scored a try and added a conversion. The game was now in the balance but Brecon regrouped and finally the Ewan Williams try settled the issue to bring an end to an entertaining game, played in great spirit between two teams who wanted to play an expansive form of the game.

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