Brecon RFC | 1st Team 29 - 31 Treorchy RFC | 1st Team
Ioan Edwards
Try 1
Jake Crockett
Conversion 2
Penalty 5
Try 1

Match Report
03 April 2022 / Team News

Brecon 29 - Treorchy 31

Sadly, Brecon’s dream of returning to the Principality Stadium to defend their Plate Title came to an end at the final hurdle. In an outstanding game of rugby Brecon lost to a powerful Treorchy team by the narrowest of margins in their semi final match at Ebbw Vale. It was clear before the outset that Treorchy would be formidable opponents simply by looking at their season’s record, where they remain unbeaten in Division 1 East Central and came through their quarter final with a victory at the home of highly respected Aberystwyth. The game was a credit to both sides as the teams gave their all in what turned out to be a thrilling and entertaining contest. So close was the match that the lead changed hands a total of six times and even when Treorchy took the lead for the final time and with just seconds on the clock Brecon almost found a way to win the game with a drop goal attempt that sailed agonizingly wide of the target. The match was also interesting from the viewpoint of the relative strengths of both sides. While both teams sought to play an expansive game, it was Brecon who looked the most fluent and threatening when the ball was moved into the wider areas of the field.  Treorchy, by contrast, were the more powerful in the tight exchanges particularly in the scrum and it was in this area in particular that they possessed a weapon which ultimately determined the final course of the game.

The match itself was played in perfect conditions in front of a large crowd. Supporters of both teams contributed to the atmosphere and the tension that built throughout the match.

There can be no doubt that Treorchy started the better of the two teams. An early Brecon mistake allowed them to win territory and to exert pressure. For the first fifteen minutes they dominated territory and possession and played the game at a high tempo. Only some magnificent Brecon defence held them at bay. Hooker Johnny Bowen put in a crucial tackle as the barnstorming blindside flanker made ground in midfield and Ben Griffin was forced to pull off a try saving tackle when the Treorchy No 10 put in a perfect kick-pass to his right wing. Finally, the pressure resulted in a score as the classy Treorchy 10 kicked a penalty and within another few minutes he hit his second.

 Treorchy’s early dominance was worrying and it lifted their supporters while the Brecon contingent were left to look anxiously on. However, it wasn’t long before they saw a glimmer of light as for the first time Brecon took play into their opponents’ half. Ioan Edwards brilliantly won a turn over. Scrum half Scott Gibson broke blind and an interchange of passes with Ewan Williams saw Gibson in space with one defender to beat. His lovely step and break on the outside did the job and as he touched down in the corner the Brecon support made themselves heard. The celebration was, however, short lived as the referee’s attention was drawn to the touch judge who spotted that Gibson had just touched the side line as he dived for the corner. Brecon were visibly lifted by their response and maintained pressure. After some great build up work through Ollie Lewis and Ewan Williams, Jake Crockett almost got over the line. Although that score didn’t materialise, they at least recorded their first points of the afternoon when Jake Newman struck his first penalty.

After this brief rest bite Treorchy regained the kick off and once again Brecon were forced to defend. Their full back looked dangerous with ball in hand and when they stole a Brecon line out his incursion into the line created the space for the left wing to outflank the defence and score in the corner.

Brecon could have dropped their heads even at this early stage but instead they fought back impressively. Ryan Price set up an attacking position with a great take and Crockett and Gibson combined to earn a scrum on 5 metres. At this point the first worrying signs of problems at the scrum emerged. Instead of attacking from 5 metres the Brecon scrum was penalised and Treorchy had and easy, but brief, escape. Brecon surged back into opposition territory after lovely flowing move in which wing Ben Griffin made an incursion through mid-field. Treorchy were penalised at the breakdown and Newman’s penalty kick was successful. He followed that up with his third from half way after some great work by Ioan Edwards and Rowan Starkey.

Better was soon to come. Prop Richie Davies showed great appetite for work as he followed up a kick deep into the Treorchy half. His pressure forced a knock on. On this occasion the scrum held firm and Ewan Williams broke. Receiving the ball with a little space allowed outstanding scrum half Scott Gibson to make a critical break and he put supporting Ioan Edwards in for a converted try for Brecon to take the lead.

Treorchy did their best to hit back before half time and after a good attack led by their full back and a penalty to touch 5 metres out Brecon were forced into desperate defence. Some great work by Will Prosser ensured that after a line out drive his opponent was unable to ground the ball. Brecon cleared and headed into the half time break with a five-point lead.

The second half could not have started better for Brecon as they scored an outstanding try from the opening play. Full Back Owen Morgan picked up a loose ball and made a brilliant break past onrushing opponents. Getting behind the first line of defence he then drew the cover and put Crockett in space. His pace took him over for a try under the posts with the conversion being a formality. Suddenly Brecon had a 12 point lead and had shown how dangerous they could be.

Treorchy, recognising the threat that Brecon presented sought to tighten the game by playing for territory and then driving through their powerful forwards. Brecon coped well with this change of pattern for a time but then made a mistake. Fielding a kick just outside the twenty two Brecon decided to pass and run rather than kick for position. Caught in possession on ten metres the ball popped out on the Treorchy side and their Number 8 broke through the disorganised defence. He then showed great pace to make it to the line for a try which was converted.

Within minutes Brecon surrendered the lead. An ambitious quick tap from a free kick on half way resulted in the ball being turned over and Treorchy attacked to win a scrum deep in the Brecon 22. Their dominance in this area now took its toll. Brecon were trundled back and as the scrum collapsed near the line the referee awarded a penalty try to put Treorchy back in front.

Brecon regained the lead from a penalty at the kick off and then came one of the game’s defining moments. Brecon again attacked through their backs after Ryan Price showed great pace on his wing. The ball was moved wide and Jake Crockett found himself in space with players outside. He delayed the pass and a gap opened for him. He raced through and with the line tantalising close, he was brought down as a desperate ankle tap clipped his heel. He offloaded and Ben Griffin dotted the ball down but the pass was forward and the try cancelled. Then at the scrum on 5 metres Brecon were penalised again and Treorchy escaped unscathed, worked their way up-field, and kicked a penalty, from close to half, way to restore their lead.

As was the pattern of the game Brecon hit back. Jake Crockett and Wayne Morris threatened to break through with Morris finally being stopped with a high tackle. Newman restored Brecon’s lead with a penalty as the game entered its final phases.

One final opportunity came Brecon’s way to close the game out as the match entered the final minutes. First it seemed that they squandered an opportunity when they just failed to find touch with a penalty toward the 5 metre line. However, they made the pressure tell. An Owen Morgan break was carried on by Ewan Williams and Ioan Edwards. Replacement prop Iwan Dowling Jones then took the pass and broke the first tackle. His pace caught the defence flat footed and he sped for the line. As the cover reached him, he passed to Ioan Edwards with the line at his mercy but with the pass going behind him he failed to hold on and Treorchy cleared from another penalty at the ensuing scrum. Working their way into the Brecon half they earned another penalty at the scrum and this time their outside half put them back in front with just a minute to go. The excitement wasn’t quite over. Brecon regathered the kick off and Jake Newman went for a winning drop goal. It sailed just wide and Brecon were left frustrated while the Treorchy team and supporters celebrated their well-earned victory. They now move on to face past winners, Penallta, at the Principality Stadium on 30th April.

Oh what might have been!