Brecon RFC | 1st Team 46 - 5 Blaenavon RFC | 1st Team
Richard Lucas Jones
Try 2
Jake Newman
Conversion 3
Dean John Gunter
Conversion 1
Penalty 1
Cameron Gardner
Try 1
Jake Crockett
Try 1
Ewan David Williams
Try 1
Craig Davies
Try 1
Adam Hoskins
Try 1

Match Report
18 December 2016 / Team News

Brecon 46 - Blaenavon 5

Brecon ended the first half of the league season with a resounding win over close rivals Blaenavon. The result was a particularly welcome, coming as it did prior to the Christmas break in League activities. It was all the more welcome as it eased the growing worries that Brecon, having lost their previous four league matches, could slip into the relegation zone. This certainly would have been the case if the match had been lost as Blaenavon were just two points adrift in tenth place, one place below the home side. With this as the background it was easy to see that the match was highly significant for both sides. The challenge for Brecon was to re-establish their early season form and to come away with a result against a side that defeated them both at home and away last season.

For mid-December the weather and conditions were as good as they could possibly have been. The ground was firm and dry and there was hardly a breath of wind. The only element that indicated that we were heading for mid-winter was the general gloom which required the use of floodlighting by as early as half time. There is no doubt that the conditions favoured the smaller Brecon team and they certainly made the most of their superior mobility and pace particularly in the first half. Throughout that half Brecon produced some scintillating rugby which was in complete contrast to their more recent performances.

While it was the back line which shone during this period, it was the pack that laid the foundation for the success. The front row of Ryan Harris, Luke Griffiths and Richy Davies, whilst giving away a lot in terms of bulk to their opponents, never took a backward step in tight or loose play, laid the foundation for a solid scrum and provided support right across the field. Andrew Hosie and Danny Howe in the second row complemented one another. Andrew won great ball in the line out and never stopped working throughout the eighty minutes. Danny hit rucks hard and carried with power. Behind this effective front five the back row did what they have done all season. Team captain, Ewan Williams, linked superbly with his backs and was competitive at every breakdown. Craig Davies at Number 8, was also effective with ball in his hands and produced probably his best performance of the season to date. Davey Herdman, was what he has been throughout the season, a colossus. His defence was magnificent and his hard driving runs took him over the gain line time and again.

With this as the platform, the backs produced some wonderful flowing movements and clinical finishing. The half backs, Dean Gunter and Adam Hoskins, prompted and directed the back line brilliantly. Their distribution was quick and accurate, allowing players to run onto the ball and through gaps in the opposition defence. Joe Evans, at inside centre, distributed beautifully and his partner in mid field, Cameron Gardner, constantly ran with menace and closed down the opposition when they occasionally threatened. The back three were always dangerous. Lucas Jones collected a brace of tries while Jake Crockett read play well and made important incursions into mid-field where his pace and footballing ability created opportunities. Jake Newman at full back was totally reliable in defence and a handful on the counter attack, while his kicking at times nailed the opposition back deep into their territory.

With so many outstanding performances across the field it was hardly surprising that by half time, not only had Brecon collected a try bonus point but they effectively had the game in the bag. A Gunter penalty opened the scoring and that was followed by an outstanding try which was initially set up by some great handling and finished with individual brilliance as Jake Crockett cut through with pace and then stepped inside the cover.

The second try game after a wonderful Gardner tackle in the corner snuffed out a dangerous Blaenavon move. Hosie then stole a line out and the scoring move, which initiated deep in their own half, was finished when Lucas Jones crossed in the corner. The winger soon picked up his second try after a Brecon scrum drew a penalty and Hoskins and Gunter moved the ball quickly into unguarded territory. Cameron Gardner claimed the third try which was started with a Hoskins break and finished with a lovely improvised off-load from Joe Evans to his co-centre. A second quickly taken penalty provided the space for Ewan Williams to crash over for Brecon’s fifth try before Blaenavon registered their only points of the afternoon when they drove over for a try off a 5 metre line out.

As the half ended so Brecon suffered the loss of Dean Gunter to the sin bin after a high tackle. Starting the second half one man down, Brecon, lost momentum. Blaenavon, to their credit, fought back strongly. They kept the game tight and frustrated the home team. Brecon allowed themselves to be sucked into a battle of attrition which was punctuation by stoppages, aggression and some retaliation. Penalties became more frequent than flowing movement and it wasn’t until the final 10 minutes that Brecon began to re-assert the width and control of the game which they displayed throughout the first half. In that final ten minutes two more tries were scored. Craig Davies crashed his way over the line after some good build up work featuring Danny Howe and then Adam Hoskins finished off a flowing move as he cut a great angle at pace to cross in the corner.

The bonus point victory was welcomed by the whole of the Brecon contingent. Then when the news came through that the second XV had defeated Bedlinog to continue their successful run, there was justifiable cause for celebration at the club.