Caerleon RFC | 1st Team 21 - 46 Brecon RFC | 1st Team
Andrew Hosie
1 Try
Jake Crockett
3 Try
Dean John Gunter
4 Conversion
1 Penalty
Darren Llewelyn Witcomb
1 Try
Ewan David Williams
1 Try
Jake Newman
1 Try

Match Report
03 September 2017 / Team News

Caerleon 21 - Brecon 46

 After good pre-season build up, Brecon showed impressive form in their first league game of the season. Travelling to Caerleon was a good test of how well players had adapted to the new regime with Martin Keylock and Andy Powell at the coaching helm. While all the signs had been encouraging with good numbers in training and with a very positive outlook from both management and players no one could be certain how the team would respond in the heat of battle. Against a side with a similar record at the end of the previous season, Brecon showed that the pre-season optimism was justified.

The opening exchanges of the game were encouraging. Brecon dominated physically at the scrum and the breakdown. This ensured that they had a plentiful supply of ball and they dominated territory. If there were any worry at all, it was that the first few clear cut opportunities that they created were not taken, as scoring passes went astray. Once Brecon got on the score board, however, there was never really a doubt about the winner of the encounter and that could be said without denigrating the opposition. The Caerleon side were in fact very lively and when they did get possession they looked dangerous but for much of the first half they operated off the back foot. That changed somewhat when, through genuine injury to two of their front row, they were forced to opt for passive scrums and that immediately took away one of Brecon’s major strengths. Although some way behind they did get back into the game before Brecon powered away to an outstanding opening victory.

There was no doubt that the victory was based on superior all round team play, with forwards and backs complementing one another and with everyone looking comfortable on the ball. However, there were some individual performances of considerable note. Captain Ewan Williams was outstanding. He led from the front with powerful running and with a great ability to deliver and time his off loads to perfection. Another member of the pack to shine was second row Darren Witcomb. Darren re-joined the fray at the end of last season after a very long spell away from the game after suffering a career threatening knee injury. In this first game of the season and with a full period of pre-season work behind him, he got better and better as the game progressed. One run in the second half was outstanding and he deservedly claimed the final score as he drove over for a try in the corner.

In the backs the half back combination of Dean Gunter and Deri Williams impressively controlled the game. Gunter mixed up play beautifully and his kicking in both attack and defence was almost faultless. His half back partner, Williams, made a welcome return to 1st XV colours. For the most part his distribution was quick and accurate and he showed a great appetite for work. When he took responsibility himself and ran, he caused the home defence great problems and he drew defenders towards him creating space for others. It also has to be mentioned that last season’s top try scorer, Jake Crockett, started the season as he finished the last. The arch poacher scored three tries and showed some lovely hands and a delicate use of the chip-kick which was needed to unlock some tight defence.

With these individuals being complemented with a great team display it was not surprising that Brecon dominated the opening exchanges. A Dean Gunter penalty gave them the lead but there was a delay before the next score as although Brecon dominated they spurned a number of chances. When the try came it was fully deserved. Gunter set up the position with a great attacking kick and with the front row of Andy Nicholl, Ryan Harris and Jonathan Bowen completely out-scrummaging their opponents a try was inevitable. Ewan Williams scored.

The next try was not long in coming. A lively attack went wide left and Crockett chipped over the last remnants of the defence for Jake Newman to score.

The game was then interrupted as two nasty looking injuries took their toll on the Caerleon Front Row. With no more front row replacements available scrums became uncontested and this allowed Caerleon the opportunity to work off a stable platform. They showed pace and confidence as they tested the Brecon defence but that defence held and as the half came to a close another chip over allowed second row Andrew Hosie the opportunity to cross for a try which Gunter converted.

The start of the second half was much more even than the first. Caerleon now ran everything and ran effectively. They were rewarded when outside half Loui O’Brien combined beautifully with his captain Chris Macey to put Number 8 Bailey Davies through the gap for a converted sore.

Brecon responded immediately. Ewan Williams set off after taking a quick tap penalty, Deri Williams made a break and Crockett was over near the posts allowing Gunter an easy conversion. Now, however, the game swung from end to end. Brecon’s discipline deserted them for a time and Caerleon capitalised. A pin point wide kick was gathered by left wing Ellis Jones and although tackled near the touch line he was able to pop up an inside pass for Macey to score a try which was again converted. Brecon again responded and inspired by captain Williams space was created for Crockett to pick up his second try.

His third try came via another chip ahead and with the game entering its final minutes all that was left was one final defiant stand by Caerleon which led to a converted try and another Brecon repost which gave Witcomb a try after the Brecon pack drive off an attacking line out.

With the formalities over, Brecon left for the changing rooms to celebrate their victory but also to prepare for what will be a long season which will throw up many challenges far stiffer, certainly, than this first escapade. The celebrations were enhanced with the news that the second team also pulled off a great opening away day victory at Porth where they won by 36 points to 10.