Maesteg Harlequins RFC | 1st Team 12 - 38 Brecon RFC | 1st Team
Andrew Nicholl
1 Try
Ben Griffin
2 Try
Dion Mcintosh
3 Conversion
Tomos Davies
1 Try
Geraint Workman
1 Try
Jake Mitchell Newman
2 Conversion
1 Penalty

Match Report
19 November 2023 / Team News

Maesteg Quins 12 - Brecon 38

Following their narrow Championship Cup victory at Bonymaen the previous week, Brecon returned to league action with a difficult journey to Maesteg. Having lost some ground to their leadership rivals as a result of inaction brought about by fixture postponements, Brecon were eager to re-establish their credentials as genuine Championship contenders and to maintain their 100% record. After the long journey which delayed their arrival at Maesteg, Brecon were pleased to find that, in spite of all the recent wet weather, the surface of the elevated pitch was soft but well maintained and that the rain had relented. Conditions otherwise were not easy. A strong wind blew diagonally across the open pitch. This allied with the gloom of a dark November afternoon and a greasy ball combined to make the fielding of a high ball, throwing in at the line out and ambitious handling very difficult.

Playing into the elements in the first half, Brecon found it difficult to adapt. While their opponents played to a simple pattern of kicking the ball to gain territory, Brecon tried to run the ball back and they found it difficult to sustain any territorial pressure. At times they also struggled to cope with the treacherous wind and the way that home full back, Owen Howe, spiralled the ball high into the air for it to hang and move with the wind. For a long period, there was stalemate. Although Maesteg enjoyed the territorial advantage, Brecon’s defence was solid and didn’t allow their opponents a single opportunity to come near their line. Although pegged back for much of the half there was the occasional flash of a threat from Brecon’s more fluid game. In fact, the only try scoring opportunity of the first half came from such a threat as Brecon moved the ball wide to right wing Sam Jones. He beat the first man, chipped the last defender and just failed to ground the ball before it ran out of play. Brecon’s only other real opportunities came from penalties, but into the wind their two efforts fell short and wide. By contrast Owen Howe, for Maesteg, was more successful, kicking two of his three attempts to give his side a six points to nil half time lead.

His first penalty came after Brecon’s flanker Osian Davies was penalised and harshly sent to the sin bin when he was deemed to attempt to play the ball emerging from a ruck while in an offside position. Brecon coped well with the loss of such an influential player as they faced the elements, while Osian made up for his temporary absence with his formidable presence at the breakdown and with powerful runs with ball in hand during the remainder of the game. His fellow back row members, Matthew Williams and Ewan Williams also had good games as they made life difficult for their opponents at the breakdown. In the scrum also Brecon became more dominant as the game proceeded with the front row members, Lewis Smout, Andy Nicholl, Dewi Edwards, Aneurin and Owain James all playing an important part. As a result Brecon turned around at half time with a belief that, with the elements now in their favour, they would take control of the game.

To the satisfaction of the coaching staff and the travelling support, that is how the half played out. Maesteg were dogged opponents and were not easy to put away but bit by bit Brecon put themselves in command of the game and the scoreboard. Their first try was started by some enterprising play by scrum half Geraint Workman. Fielding a Maesteg kick out of defence on half way he ran and linked with his backs. Sam Jones almost made the line and a score finally came after a number of pick and drives near the home line. Workman, who started the move, finished it with a dive over the line and Jake Newman converted from wide out to give Brecon the lead for the first time in the match. The Quins hit back immediately when Howe hit his third penalty as Brecon failed to clear from the kick off.

Brecon quickly restored their lead when the scrum won a penalty on halfway. Newman kicked the ball into touch on 5 metres and from a short line out Brecon’s pack drove and Andy Nicholl touched down. Newman again converted and then added a penalty. Maesteg hit back after centre Kristian Jenkins, for the only time in the match, broke through the Brecon defence. He was tackled on the Brecon 22 but earned a penalty which Howe converted.

From that point on it was all Brecon. Ben Griffin scored the third try after an impressive Ollie Lewis break in midfield. He linked with Carl Blacker who gave the scoring pass to wing Ben Griffin. Dion McIntosh’s conversion gave Brecon breathing space and as their confidence grew so did the score. After a great build-up in which Ben Griffin and Matthew Williams featured, Centre Tomos Davies capped another good performance with his fourth try of the season. McIntosh again converted as he did for Brecon’s fifth and final try when, very lively winger Ben Griffin, scored his second of the match as he profited from the pressure that Maesteg were under in their 22.

Summing up in the post-match team talk, Head Coach, Dale McIntosh congratulated his team. “We took 70 minutes to win the game against dogged opponents. In difficult conditions we stayed in the fight during the first half and then, what was most pleasing, was the way we responded in the second and used the “Tools” we have in the box to finish the job. That was awesome today but what is important now is that we maintain that focus for our game at home against Tata Steel next Saturday. They may be struggling at the foot of the table but we cannot take any team lightly.”