Bedlinog RFC | 1st Team 17 - 20 Brecon RFC | 1st Team
Jake Crockett
2 Penalty
Iwan Dowling Jones
1 Try
Andrew Nicholl
1 Try
Jake Newman
2 Conversion

Match Report
15 August 2021 / Team News

Bedlinog 17 - Brecon 20

Following their bonus point home win against Dowlais the previous Saturday, Brecon faced a stiff challenge as they travelled to Bedlinog for their second pool match. Brecon’s history of matches at Bedlinog certainly would not inspire anyone with any confidence. The teams last met at the home of “The Foxes” in September 2015 when Brecon lost heavily by 47 points to 10. That season saw Bedlinog promoted to the Championship and emerge as winners of the WRU Plate. Since that time both teams have had their successes but with the changes brought about by the Pandemic both teams were much changed as they faced each other in the New Plate competition in front of a good crowd and in lovely playing conditions.

There can be little doubt that Brecon won the early exchanges. The young team looked lively and penned Bedlinog down in their half. Jake Crockett posed a threat whenever he had the ball and one Jake Newman break looked as if it might yield an opening score but with Brecon in a threatening position, home flanker Jack Little was first to the ball on the floor and successfully turned possession over. This was the first sign that the battle at the breakdown would have a significant influence on the game. Bedlinog undoubtedly won the early stages of this contest. Brecon looked dangerous as they tried to move the ball wide but they failed to control the ball at the breakdown and opportunities were lost. One turn over almost resulted in a home score. With the Brecon defence disorganised Bedlinog moved it wide to their wing with a clear run for the line only for the final pass to be dropped.

That opportunity was squandered but Bedlinog soon posted the first score. Having dominated territory Brecon lost a line out and were penalised on half way. Outside half Mason Thomas kicked for the corner and for the first time in the match Bedlinog established a platform inside the Brecon 22. They took their opportunity. They won the line out cleanly, set up the maul and their more powerful pack drove Brecon over the line for an opening try.

The score lifted the home side and they began to exert pressure both on Brecon’s scrum and line out. After Brecon lost the ball as they tried to run out of defence Bedlinog won a penalty at the resulting scrum and they followed the tried and successful pattern of kicking the penalty to the corner. This time Brecon held the drive but failed to defend the fringe of the maul and Bedlinog scrum half Sam Davies raced through a yawning gap to score near the posts, making the conversion a formality.

Now 12 points down and with the Bedlinog forwards beginning to take control, Brecon needed to respond. To their credit they turned the game around in the closing ten minutes of the half. Some of the more senior players began to take control. Eifion Jones ran hard and straight in mid-field and drew defenders. Jake Crockett effectively got into the action with probing runs and the backs were particularly well supported by second rows Mitch Collacott and Will Prosser. Crockett opened Brecon’s account with a well taken penalty and then with the half drawing to an end they gained a foothold in the home 22. Will Prosser, number 8, Ryan James and then, prop, Richie Davies all got close but they were held out by a stern and determined Bedlinog defence. Finally Brecon were awarded a penalty on 5 metres. Sam Hellard moved the ball quickly and prop Iwan Dowling-Jones took the pass at pace and broke the defence to score a try which Newman converted to bring Brecon to within 2 points of their opponents as the half time whistle blew.

Brecon started the second half brightly. Crockett got close and then Newman crossed after chasing a kick ahead only to be brought back for being marginally offside. A forward pass then denied another try but with Eifion Jones posing more and more of a threat in mid-field it only seemed a matter of time before the next score came. When it did it was completely against the run of play. A deep kick into the Brecon half was fielded and Brecon, not for the first time, attempted to run out of defence. With players spare on the outside the pass was read and intercepted and wing Connor Pavett had an unimpeded run to the corner.

Brecon hit back almost immediately with a long Crockett penalty. Then for a second time Brecon were caught trying to run out of defence, this time, however, they were rescued by a great turn over. Four points down Brecon now pulled out all the stops. Over and again they threatened through Jones, Crockett, Newman and Owen Morgan who came onto the wing off the bench. They were faced by stern and effective defence that closed down each attack as it threatened. Suddenly that changed. Rhodri Jenkins stole a line out in the Bedlinog half. Richie Davies, Ryan James and Josh Pritchard made ground before Andy Nicholl showed great strength in driving on for ten metres with defenders hanging on to him . Finally he was brought down but Brecon maintained possession within 5 metres of the line but without crossing for a try until Nicholl popped up again and blasted over at the posts. The conversion gave Brecon a three point lead with time running out.

Bedlinog responded. Three times they had a penalty with the option of going for the posts to draw the match. Each time they opted to go to the corner. With the history of what happened in the first half, Brecon supporters were apprehensive but the pack did a magnificent job of holding Bedlinog at bay. Finally Josh Pritchard won a turn over penalty and to the delight of the Brecon contingent the ball was hammered off the field and the referee signalled an end to a very close battle which was a credit to both sides.