St Josephs RFC | 1st Team 0 - 20 Brecon RFC | 1st Team
Jake Crockett
1 Try
Ioan Edwards
1 Try
Jake Newman
2 Conversion
2 Penalty

Match Report
06 March 2022 / Team News

St Joseph's 0 - Brecon 20

Following yet another four weeks of inactivity Brecon finally got on the road to play their last 16 WRU Plate match against St Joseph’s, Cardiff. As Plate holders Brecon were desperate to take the next step into the quarter finals but with only having played two competitive matches since 4th December this was very much a step into the unknown. To compound the uncertainty the match was played on an unfamiliar 3G artificial surface on a bright afternoon but with a strong, cold breeze blowing diagonally across the pitch.

In spite of the lack of match practice Brecon started well. They definitely controlled the early exchanges aided by a very effective scrum. The front row unit of Tommy Witcomb, Dewi Edwards and Iwan Dowling Jones pressured their opponents in the set piece and also carried and foraged well in the loose. The early pressure, however, brought no reward for Brecon on the scoreboard. Opportunities were created but Brecon’s handling was anything but accurate. As a result, good breaks by scrum half Sam Hellard, number 8 Ewan Williams and drives by Will Prosser and Iwan Dowling Jones all came to nothing. The team looked distinctly rusty in attack and as the pressure brought no reward there was some concern that they would made to pay for their lack of fluency.

When Brecon finally surrendered territory St Joseph’s created huge pressure of their own. They opted to play a simple game, keeping the ball close to their forwards and driving hard through their bulkier players. Through this pattern they kept the ball through numerous phases and looked threatening. Brecon responded well. Individually and collectively the defence was impressive. Rowan Starkey set an example by tackling low and repeatedly taking attackers down and allowing his team mates to compete for the ball. This they did effectively and Will Prosser and Josh Millichap won important turn overs or earned a penalty. However, each time the pressure was lifted it was only a temporary reprieve as Brecon’s accuracy failed to match their ambition.

With the game now into the final ten minutes of the half Brecon lifted the pressure after a great turn over effected by Will Prosser. Suddenly Brecon again looked dangerous with ball in hand but the earlier failings littered their play. A lovely incursion into midfield by wing Ryan Price looked promising but a final pass missed its target. Brecon did eventually score through a Jake Newman penalty to take a 3 point lead just before the conclusion of the half.

Brecon started the second half with the advantage of the breeze and immediately looked more clinical. Scrum half Scott Gibson benefitted from a stable platform at the scrum which was enhanced with the introduction of Andy Nicholl. Scott immediately posted a warning to the home defence as he broke from a scrum and caused all sorts of problems for the home defence. Although his attacking run did not lead directly to a score St Joseph’s were forced to kill a ruck and from the penalty Jake Newman extended the lead.

With Jake Newman now kicking beautifully out of hand and gaining huge metres, it wasn’t long before Brecon posted their first try. Scott Gibson was again the catalyst as he broke blind from a scrum on ten metres. He committed the defence and with Ioan Edwards available and in support, as he was throughout the afternoon, Gibson linked with the flanker who ran in for an excellent try which was converted from wide out by Newman.

Boosted by the score Brecon now took complete control of the game. With the combination of Jake Newman and Ollie Lewis now linking effectively in the centre, room was created for wings Ryan Price and Ben Griffin and full back Dafydd Edwards. All looked impressive with ball in hand and only the determined efforts of the home defence stopped Brecon from running away with the game. It was only a matter of time before something gave and when it did a try was beautifully created. This time it was Ewan Williams who was at the heart of the play. Not for the first time Ewan carried past and through tackles and then in space he delivered a perfect offload to Jake Crockett who cut through at pace to score under the posts. Newman converted to give Brecon a comfortable lead.

Brecon were now dominant and in the last ten minutes they should have added to their score. Two clear cut opportunities were lost, first through a poor final pass and then with a magnificent tackle on the try line when a score seemed certain. That aside this was an impressive performance away from home and after so little match practice. As a result the dream of possibly retaining the trophy is still alive with the quarter final match at Gowerton coming as early as next Saturday.