30 October 2023 / Club News

Match Report Beaufort RFC 1st XV v Brecon Athletic – 28th October 2023

Beaufort RFC 1st XV v Brecon Athletic – 28th October 2023

Following the cancellation of the Cup game in Bonymaen, and also the postponement of the Youth Match, all eyes turned firmly towards the Brecon Athletic squad to seek to continue the momentum that has come throughout the club through a series of encouraging results, and some excellent performances that reflect the efforts that are being made on both the playing and training pitches.

The absence of a current, full, league structure, that would provide a regular timetabled source of rugby for the group, means that they are often seeking fixtures from other clubs who may be available on a particular day. Team Manager and Head Coach, Gari Davies, has had a busy time recently in this regard and, for the second week running, he was able to secure a trip over Llangynidr Mountain as the squad travelled to Beaufort Rugby Club, at the Heads of the Valleys. Having faced Hollybush the previous week, the latest trip was similar in that it meant the Athletic would be up against a team currently plying their trade in the National Leagues Structure as they sit in Division 5 East. Whilst they have enjoyed mixed fortunes in the League thus far, they currently lie in third position in that division, ahead of the side that the Athletic had narrowly beaten the previous weekend.

The coaching and playing group were therefore wary of the potential challenge that lay ahead, and travelled with a keen focus on maintaining the improving standards that they have set for themselves. The early morning weather that had resulted in some cancellations, eventually broke, and it was a pleasant surprise to see a relatively light playing surface at Carmeltown Sports Ground, and the team were seen to prepare intensely for the challenge that lay ahead. One of the strengths of the senior playing group has been the ability to select from a wide base of players, and the team were able to prepare for the game knowing they had a supporting bench of players of some quality and experience.

The match kicked off and Brecon immediately showed their intent as they looked to attack at every opportunity. This was done in a varied and balanced way, and mixed some driving runs from the physical pack of forwards, with Wil Prosser, Owain Williams, Tommy Witcomb, and skipper Josh Millichap prominent in this regard. The games had started with uncontested scrums so, whilst props Bryn Nicholl and Dewi Worwood had one of their key roles reduced, they made up for this with their effectiveness in the loose.

Additionally, the point of attack was often changed as the home defence was challenged on a wider basis, and flankers Davey Herdman and Teilo Harris were key elements in this regard with the power of their carrying. The latter went on to enjoy a fine all round game and continues to make great strides in his progression into senior rugby.

Behind this impressive pack, scrum half Hugh Prothero was a typically busy and effective presence, whilst his young half back partner, Lewie Crockett, was able to make some good ground with his kicking off both feet. Starting centres James Hellard and Gaz Price were excellent foils in terms of being able to build on the good work of those inside them, whilst being influential factors in providing greater width to the attacking moves. This enabled the back three of Sam Davies, Isaac Demesi, and Dafydd Edwards to enjoy periods of play with ball in hand, as the visitors probed for an early score.

The opening exchanges had been characterised by a period of territorial and possessional dominance for Brecon, although these bold efforts were, initially, hampered by some inaccuracies in terms of passing and ball handling. A number of creative attacking moves involving the whole XV came to disappointing ends as the ball was spilled, particularly as the rain returned and added a further challenge in this regard. Given this it took an individual piece of great play and skill to break the deadlock as a hurried home team clearance fell into the hands of Isaac Demesi on the left hand touchline. Isaac then went on a weaving run of some 50 metres that saw him beat numerous would-be tacklers before touching down to the right of the posts. The conversion added by Lewie Crockett gave Brecon the base, and confidence of an early lead from which they could build as the game progressed.

The first period saw Brecon take control of all elements of the game and they attacked relentlessly, the aforementioned handling errors being one of the key factors that prevented them from building a significant lead. Nevertheless, the visiting team still played well in the deteriorating conditions, and the half time whistle saw them lead 26-3, with further tries having been added by Hugh Prothero and Dafydd Edwards (2), and a further two conversions being made by Lewie Crockett.

The coaching team of Gari Davies and Ioan Edwards used the half time period to remind their charges of the need to ensure greater accuracy and precision to support the good play, and numerous chances that the team were creating. Additionally, they had the luxury of being able to use their own version of the Bomb Squad in that the eight replacements were all used to great effect, and all contributed to a second half performance that belied the worsening conditions, and showed how the standard of rugby across the club is improving with the current coaching regimes.

Josh Pritchard, Rhys Mills, and Josh Hamilton were all prominent in their cameos, showing power and providing direction in their contributions. The experience of Aaeron Evans and Andrew Hosie, both carrying injuries, added a composure to the creative chaos around them, and Iwan Davies was his usual bustling presence, and was rewarded with a fine try as the visiting team cut loose in the second half.

The second period saw Brecon add a further six tries, and this was done with some fine attacking play of the highest order, with some of the tries being scored after showing a huge willingness to attack from deep and to keep the ball alive. Replacement backs Luis Price, Konrad Krywko, and Sammy Hellard were prominent in the attacking, the former of these also adding conversions to the scoreboard, and the latter running in a fine try from 40 metres, after a superb movement from deep in the Brecon 22. In addition to this score, further tries were touched down by Wil Prosser, James Hellard, Lewi Crockett, and Luis Price, with James also getting in on the kicking action by landing two conversions.

The latter part of the game was played out in heavy rainfall, but that did not diminish the quality of play on display from Brecon, and the final scoreline of 66-3 was fully justified in terms of the approach the team took to the game, and the level of skill and commitment on display. It is always useful to be able to reflect, after such an accomplished performance, on areas that can be improved on, and the coaching staff will be keen to see the wider Senior squad ensuring that numbers at training are high to allow for some proactive coaching and support to build on, and improve, the performances of all.

A final couple of words must go to the home team Beaufort, with gratitude to them for offering the chance to play, and also a big thank you for the welcome in what is a warm and friendly club. The Brecon club would love to be able to return the welcome to Beaufort if they would like a return trip over the Beacons at some stage. On the pitch, notwithstanding the scoreline, it is to the credit of the home team that they were still committed to tackling with great energy and intent at the end of the game, and the final whistle sounded with Beaufort pressing hard for a score of their own.

Thanks also to the referee who approached the game with empathy, and communicated well with the players – this allowed the match to be played out in a sporting manner that added to the entertainment enjoyed by the spectators who had braved the weather.

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