Ystalyfera RFC | 1st Team 12 - 43 Brecon RFC | 1st Team
Matthew Harris-Donovan
Try 1
Matthew Billett
Try 1
Cellan Carter-jones
Conversion 1
Geraint Walsh
1 Try
Sam Jones
2 Try
Ben Griffin
3 Try
Dion Mcintosh
1 Try
4 Conversion

Match Report
17 September 2023 / Team News

Ystalyfera 12 - Brecon 43

For the Season’s finale Brecon 1st XV travelled to Ystalyfera with a remote possibility that they could overtake league leaders, Narberth and win Championship West. For that to happen they needed two results to go their way. First, they had to win with a bonus point at Ystalyfera. The second scenario was out of their hands in so far as Narberth would need to lose their final home match against lowly placed Maesteg Quins.  Brecon did all that could be asked of them in that they came away from Ystalyfera with a 43 points to 12, bonus points win, however, Narberth secured their status as deserved League winners, with a resounding 61 points to 7 victory.

The game at Ystalyfera was something of a reflection of the season as a whole. The end result was very satisfying with some outstanding periods of play during the second half, when they scored five tries of the highest quality. However, the first half had been a battle against a combative and determined opposition. Too often in the first half they created opportunities but their accuracy let them down and they failed to score until the eighteenth minute when they at last put together a clinical move. In the build up they showed what they were capable of. In spite of being down to fourteen men following a yellow card, they attached from deep when Ben Griffin gathered an Ystalyfera kick ahead. Tackled near the touchline, Griffin laid back good ball which Carl Blacker moved quickly for Logan McIntosh to carry across the gain line. Harper Champerlin, starting his first match for Brecon, then carried the move on with a storming run and Dion McIntosh made a break and kicked ahead. Ystalyfera were forced to carry over their own line and Brecon won a scrum on the 5 metre line. The seven forwards held, and Logan McIntosh broke from Number 8. He linked and looped around his brother, Dion, to take the return pass and feed scum half Carl Blacker. His wide pass to full back Jake Newman created space and Newman timed his pass to wing Ben Griffin perfectly. Griffin still had a lot of work to do but stepped inside brilliantly to score wide out. Dion Mcintosh hit a superb conversion to give Brecon a seven point lead.

Brecon should have been able to build from there but they immediately surrendered their lead after they failed to clear from the kick off and gave away a penalty. Ystalyfera went to touch in the corner, drove off the line out and scored a try which was converted to level the scores. This gave the home side confidence and Brecon needed to quell the rising feeling that Ystalyfera were gaining momentum as much from Brecon’s mistakes as from their own belligerent, battling performance.

During most of the remainder of the half Brecon battled with themselves as much as they did with their opponents. They gave away too many penalties and in spite of the fact that they won a lot of ball, particularly through some excellent Geraint Powell line out work, both with and against the throw, and had a strong scrum, they couldn’t put together a clinical finish. They got close when after an extended period of pressure in the home 22 it appeared that and excellent Ben Pritchard run had taken him over the line, but he was adjudged to have been held up and Ystalyfera held out until the last play of the first half.  Wing Geraint Walsh, who had an excellent all round game, created the position with and lovely run out of defence. Blacker then carried into the tackle and ever present hooker Dewi Edwards fed Dion McIntosh from the base of the breakdown. McIntosh chipped ahead and captain Jake Crockett gathered and returned a pass to McIntosh who ran in under the posts making it a simple conversion.

The score undoubtedly gave Brecon a lift and they started the second half brilliantly. Almost from the kick off they won a scrum on the Ystalyfera ten metre line. Logan McIntosh again broke and fed Blacker. Dion McIntosh moved the ball behind the flat running Ollie Lewis to left wing Walsh who entered midfield. He in turn linked with full back Jake Newman who again drew his man and delivered the scoring pass to Griffin. McIntosh again converted.

Now with a two score advantage Brecon suddenly produced some outstanding team play. The pack laid the foundation with good ball and great carries from Andy Nicholl, Richie Davies, Lewis Smout, Ioan Edwards, Matthew Williams and Ryan Williams. In the centre Ollie Lewis was direct and hard running, Jake Crockett complimented him beautifully with his pace and movement and the back three of Geraint Walsh, Jake Newman, Ben Griffin and replacement Sam Jones made telling contributions all across the field. The fourth try was only a matter of time. Newman field the ball on the touchline and linked with replacement scrum half Geraint Workman. He ran at the heart of the defence. Sam Jones made a half break and second row Geraint Powell delivered a lovely one handed offload back to Workman, who but for a slip would have scored. Ioan Edwards rescued the ball on the ground fed hooker Rhys Williams who put Sam Jones over for the try. The fifth try came almost immediately from the kickoff. Matthew Williams won great line out ball and with both blind side wing Sam Jones and full back Newman in the line some great handling put Walsh clear for a try.

The sixth try was a great team effort. Brecon’s pack drove the Ystalyfera scrum off the ball. Rhys Williams made a great run and when the ball was fed to Dion McIntosh. He spotted a narrow defence and put in a perfect, wide kick-pass, which found Sam Jones in space. He gathered and collected his second try. Defiantly Ystalyfera hit back after a series of good forward carries and they deservedly scored a try of their own in the left corner. However, Brecon were not finished. Richie Davies went on a great trade-mark run and Andy Nicholl followed with a powerful drive. Off the breakdown Workman worked a lovely switch with Ben Griffin who split the defence to run in for his third try of the afternoon.

The grand stand finish was perhaps fitting tribute to captain Jake Crockett who completed his 200th appearance for Brecon first XV. He first saw action in senior colours, as a 19 year old against Tonyrefail on 6th April 2013. During his 200 appearances he has been a prolific try scorer accumulating a total of 144 tries. He also added 34 conversions and 18 penalties to his tally, thus recording a grand total of 842 points. His most prolific season was the Cup Final year of 2018/19 when he scored 26tries. A truly remarkable record which he hopefully will take to a new level when Brecon play in the Premiership next season.