Nelson RFC | 1st Team 40 - 37 Brecon RFC | 1st Team
Ewan David Williams
2 Try
Joe Evans
1 Try
Dean John Gunter
2 Conversion
2 Penalty
Jake Crockett
1 Try
Ioan Wyn Edwards
1 Try

Match Report
15 April 2018 / Team News

Nelson 40 - Brecon 37

Finally, on the second weekend in April, Spring arrived. The ground at Nelson was soft but in good playing condition, the breeze was light and the sun shone. Both teams showed a determination to make the most of these unfamiliar conditions and they produced a feast of running rugby in which eleven tries were scored. For Brecon there was the disappointment of ending up, for the second time, on the wrong side of a narrow loss to Nelson within a period of four weeks. On 24th March they lost, to their hosts, by a single point at Parc de Pugh this time the margin was three points and the only consolation was that they travelled home with a losing bonus point to add to their try scoring bonus.

The match was a fascinating and fluctuating affair. Brecon’s start to the game was disastrous. They were caught cold with Nelson’s first attack which resulted not only in a penalty try but also the sin binning of prop Andy Nicholl. Brecon’s first kick out of defence had led to a counter attack and a penalty to the home side. They kicked to the corner and set up a line out drive. The maul was pulled down short of the try line and the referee immediately awarded a penalty try and sent the adjudged culprit to the sin bin.

Seven points down and reduced to 14 men was hardly the start Brecon were hoping for against a good Nelson team which just two weeks previously lost by the narrow 3 point margin to League leaders, Brynmawr, in the Welsh Plate semi-final. The response at this point was impressive. The 14 men fought back brilliantly, in spite of being under severe pressure in the scrum. They took the game to their opponents and created chances. The first of those they spurned as they were brought down just short of the line but they took the next brilliantly. From a shortened line out they moved the ball wide and Ewan Williams made the half break in mid-field. Out of the tackle he expertly popped the ball up to Joe Evans who crashed over under the posts to give outside half Gari Davies and easy opportunity to level the score.

It would be fair to say that for the remainder of the sin bin period Brecon were on top but there was evidence of a worrying trend. Brecon created opportunities but their accuracy was lacking. Too many balls were dropped or passes went astray and it was Nelson who showed how to be clinical. A Brecon attack broke down just five metres short of the try line. Carl Maybank, the Nelson full back, put in a huge relieving kick and their follow up was effective. Brecon were caught near half way and Nelson won a turn over. Outside half Sam Evans saw the Brecon defence trying to fan out as quickly as possible and stepped back inside to make a clean break. With centre Ryan Jones in support he committed the last defender and put Jones in under the posts with the conversion being a formality.

Although Brecon were now back to full strength it was Nelson’s turn to take control of the game. They played with pace and intensity and some good interplay between forwards and backs saw second row Lloyd Ford crash over in the corner.

Following two quick scores Brecon suddenly trailed by twelve points and needed to regroup. This they did inspired to a large extent by the work of captain Ewan Williams, Davey Herdman, his partner in the back row and front row Richie Davies and Jonathan Bowen. All carried the ball well and made ground over the gain line but for a long time Brecon were unable to reduce the deficit. Opportunities came but the fragility of the handling in the home 22 was frustrating for players and supporters alike.

 As the half was drawing towards its conclusion Brecon finally were rewarded for their industry. A neatly worked front line out peal led a penalty which Ewan Williams took quickly and again showed great hands as he popped the ball out of the tackle to Ioan Edwards who crossed for a try.

The second half started promisingly. Dean Gunter kicked an early penalty to reduce the deficit to 4 points as Brecon took territorial control of the game. Once again they only had themselves to blame for not capitalising on that advantage. Three times the final pass in the left corner was either spilled or failed to find its target and that inaccuracy was to prove very costly. Another good attack from a scrum just 10 metres out created an overlap but the wide pass was picked off by wing Bleddyn Yates who sprinted unopposed the length of the field to score under the posts, allowing Alex Edmunds the simplest of conversions.

Brecon hit back with another penalty but now Nelson showed just how to be clinical in finishing. Brecon kicked out of defence but the chase was not well organised. Wing Edmunds spotted space behind the advancing line, chipped over, re-gathered and raced away to score a try which he converted.

Brecon now looked dispirited and were beginning to look desperate while Nelson were buoyant. Attempting to run out of defence Brecon lost the ball and Nelson gathered and drove over for their sixth try and a 40 points to 18 lead. As a contest the game seemed over with Brecon facing an embarrassing defeat. However, the game took another twist as Brecon gradually started to take control at the scrum and while not being totally dominant it was enough to put Brecon the front foot. From a scrum 5 metres out Ewan Williams broke blind and scored what at first seemed to be a consolation try. Then Jake Crockett made a searing run down the left flank and as the cover got to him he was able to put Ewan Williams away for a try which Gunter converted.

A losing bonus point was now a possibility but with just minutes remaining that was all that it appeared to be until Crockett made another break which took him clear of the home defence and under the posts. Gunter’s conversion put Brecon just three points behind but any thought of an unlikely victory was soon vanquished with the referee’s final whistle.