Fixture

Newbridge RFC | 1st Team 33 - 3 Brecon RFC | 1st Team
Eamonn Rees
Conversion 4
Sam Watkins
Try 1
Daniel Davies
Try 1
Matthew Davies
Try 1
Stuart Vokes
Try 1
Michael Kavanagh
Try 1
Jake Newman
1 Penalty

Match Report
27 November 2021 / Team News

Newbridge 33 - Brecon 3

Pre pandemic Brecon and Newbridge were involved in a number of titanic battles in both League and Plate competitions. It would be fair to say that Newbridge had the edge in most matches with their powerful pack tending to be the difference between the two sides. For the first time, post lockdown, they met at the Welfare Ground on a blustery but dry late autumn afternoon. Following the storms associated with Arwen it was good to see that conditions underfoot were good and this obviously suited Brecon’s style of play. Sadly, while Storm Arwen had abated the aftereffects impacted on Brecon. With two important players already unavailable that number was doubled on the morning of the match as two more were forced to work as part of the clean up operation. Brecon therefore started the game without the settled side that has served them well in recent weeks and short of confidence.

It was the lack of confidence that had the first impact on the game. From the kick off they allowed Newbridge gain an early foothold and to dictate the pace of the game. Brecon were forced into a defensive role and after a storming run by the burly Newbridge full back Brecon’s defence finally cracked after initially holding out through a number of phases. That seven-point advantage was quickly doubled when Brecon gave Newbridge territory with a kick from just outside the 22 which went out on the full. From a line out just 22 metres out Brecon’s pack failed to contain the Newbridge drive and as the advancing maul broke up Newbridge splintered off and crossed the try line for a try which was converted.

Now after ten minutes Brecon were fourteen points down and in an inhospitable environment. Amongst the Brecon support there was the worry that the young side would cave in. To the credit of the whole team the response was highly creditable. Brecon now took the game to Newbridge and started to dominate territory and create chances. A number of Brecon players were prominent not just in this phase but throughout the game. Ewan Williams was a threat with ball in hand and from Number 8 dealt brilliantly with the ball at the back of a retreating scrum. Ioan Edwards was everywhere and showed up well in attack where his elusive running allowed him to get across the gain line on numerous occasions. Fellow flanker, Will Prosser, was just as effective but in a different way. His running was direct and hard but was equally productive. Scrum half Scott Gibson was a real handful, directing the side from scrum half and being prepared to take on the opposition whenever there was an opportunity. Ryan Price out on the wing received little attacking ball but his defensive work was outstanding and when he did get the ball, he was always a danger on the outside.

With these players setting an example Brecon rallied. Chances came but they were hampered by a line out which malfunctioned in the windy conditions. Four successive line outs, in promising positions, were lost against the throw. This allowed Newbridge to clear their lines and this was further aided by forward power when Brecon attackers had the ball ripped from their grasp within sight of the line. So, for all the territory Brecon’s attacks came to nothing against the rock-solid home defence. Brecon’s only reward was a Jake Newman penalty.

The second half started with Newbridge now having the advantage of the wind and they opened up in the same way that they started the game. They gained territory and played the ball down into the Brecon 22. Brecon defended bravely but on the back foot they were forced to concede successive penalties and finally from a quick tap the home Number 8 crashed over for the third converted try.

For Brecon disaster struck almost immediately after the kick off. Brecon failed to take a high Newbridge kick ahead in the swirling wind. The spilled ball bounced kindly for the lively Newbridge right wing who ran in unopposed from 40 metres out. With the conversion being successful Brecon found themselves 25 points in arrears and with thirty minutes remaining. As in the first half they responded bravely. Against the wind they were not afraid to run out of defence and as the line out improved so they were able to impose themselves in their opponents’ half. Props Richie Davies and Iwan Dowling Jones carried brilliantly and after Dafydd Edwards initiated an attack in concert with Scott Gibson following a quickly taken line out, Brecon camped themselves near the home 5 metre line. They drove hard but each time they were repulsed by an impressive home defence. When eventually they spread the ball wide they threatened but some poor handling in bitingly cold conditions thwarted their efforts. During this phase, replacement scrum half Sam Hellard popped up everywhere prompting attack after attack but all to no avail.

Finally, Newbridge won a penalty to relieve the pressure. They then showed the clinical edge that eluded Brecon. Once they were in their visitors’ territory, they maintained possession through numerous phases and their runners broke the gain-line time and again. Finally, from a line out drive they scored their fifth try. In the closing minutes Brecon did all they could to earn a consolation score but the clinical finishing that they have shown in early season matches was missing. They got close but failed to break the stout Newbridge defence and the home side walked away with a comprehensive victory and a well-deserved bonus point victory.

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