Fixture

Brecon RFC | 1st Team 35 - 34 Dowlais RFC | 1st Team
Sam Hellard
Try 1
Jake Newman
Conversion 5
Try 1
Ioan Edwards
Try 1
Ewan Williams
Try 2

Match Report
10 April 2022 / Team News

Brecon35 - Dowlais 34

Following the emotion and energy expended during the heart-breaking, narrow, loss in the Plate semi-final, the league match against Dowlais was never going to be easy. What actually materialised in this first match on home turf since as long ago as 4th December, however, certainly could not have been predicted. This was a game of enormous fluctuations and contained three distinctly different phases. During the opening phase the Brecon team seemed to lack focus and their play was littered with errors. While at times they looked dangerous their errors played into the hands of a competent Dowlais team and they made the most of the opportunities presented to them. After fifteen minutes, Brecon found themselves seventeen points behind.

The three Dowlais tries summed up the whole pattern of the first half. After an encouraging start, where Brecon hooker Dewi Edwards was just held up over the try line, Brecon’s general play was littered with handling mistakes and lack of focus. As a result, and in spite of the good possession won from a dominant scrum, Brecon were unable to post a score. Dowlais by contrast took their opportunities when they came. The first opportunity came when there appeared to be little danger. Brecon lost the ball on half way and the Dowlais number 8 picked up and accelerated through some woefully week tackling. In space he had support from his full back and he expertly drew the final defender and put his full back clear for a score which he converted.

Brecon supporters probably felt that this was a one-off mistake and that Brecon would soon hit back particularly when a great Ewan Williams run almost brought a score. However, they were to be disappointed. An innocuous Dowlais kick ahead was cleanly gathered but as Brecon looked to counter the intended pass to a support runner was delivered straight into the arms of the one Dowlais chaser. He gratefully accepted the gift and ran in unopposed to score. Although the conversion failed Brecon were twelve points down and worse was to come.

Almost from the kick off Brecon made a hash of a clearance kick. The Dowlais wing gathered behind the main Brecon defensive line and with plenty of support the ball was spread across the field and the left wing scored in the corner. With fifteen minutes gone Brecon were now seventeen points down.

Almost from the kick off the game suddenly changed. The catalyst was Ewan Williams who had a superb game with his ability to carry the ball, beat defenders and keep his hands free to deliver the pass or offload out of the tackle. He and Andy Nicholl made hard yards and Williams finished with a try which Jake Newman converted. Williams was at it again almost immediately as he made the initial break and linked with Jake Crockett who, in the tackle, released a wonderful one-handed pass to put Jake Newman over for a try which he converted.

As half time approach Brecon took the lead as their dominance continued. Richie Davies made a good run and from a line out near the Dowlais line Ewan Williams forced his way over for his second try which was again converted.

For some time into the second half the same pattern was maintained. Dowlais found it hard to contain Brecon’s tempo and pace. It was only a matter of time before the next score came. Again, Williams was involved as a he fed scrum half Sam Hellard and his pace took him to the line and Newman converted. At this stage the only concern was that on occasions the line out was no longer secure but with dominance in other areas it seemed of little consequence.

Brecon’s fifth try came after some brilliant handling with Crockett and Williams again combining to put Ioan Edwards in for a try and Newman again converted.

With twenty minutes to remaining Brecon now led by 35 points to 17 and a big score looked on the cards, but as in the first half the game suddenly changed. Dowlais suddenly started to take control of both line out and scrum and Brecon were denied possession as Dowlais kept the ball tight. A formidable line out drive earned them a try and the gradually took control of the game with effective pick and drive play. They also benefitted from penalties at almost every scrum and with these penalties came territorial dominance. After a scrum penalty they went for a line out on 5 metres and their drive earned them their second try of the half. As the game wore on it was clear that Brecon were fortunate to have an eight-point advantage as Dowlais maintained their pressure. With the final play their forwards rumbled on with effective pick and drive play and they were rewarded with a sixth try which was converted as the final whistle went, leaving them just a single point short of Brecon’s total.

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