Garndiffaith RFC | 1st Team 24 - 31 Brecon RFC | 1st Team
Jonathon James
2 Try
Peter Alan Taylor
1 Try
Jake Crockett
1 Try
Dean John Gunter
3 Conversion
1 Try

Match Report
08 October 2017 / Team News

Garndiffaith 24 - Brecon 31

Winning away from home and with a season’s record to date of 5 wins from 6 matches, would tend to suggest that Brecon left Garndiffaith, after their first round Plate match, in a very positive frame of mind.  That statement was far from the truth apart from the fact that the win takes them into the second round draw. After what has been an outstanding start to the season, Brecon let their high standards slip against a mid- table division 2 side. It would be very easy to say that Brecon underestimated their opponents but that would only be part of the story. In spite of having to make 9 changes from the team that started the top of the table clash against Brynmawr the previous week and with only three of the backs playing in their regular positions, Brecon dominated the first sixty minutes of the game mainly through an outstanding forward effort. They bossed the scrums, were in control of the line out and they build up a healthy 31 points to 7 lead. What happened in the last quarter can only be described as nightmarish and in reality only the clock spared Brecon’s blushes.

Such a scenario would have been hard to contemplate when Jake Crockett scored a brilliant individual try and Gunter’s conversion gave the visitors a 24 point lead with 20 minutes remaining. The game seemed over as a contest. Brecon’s forwards had ground down their opponents. They dominated the scrum and their driving maul allied to some power forward surges and accurate kicking from Dean Gunter, kept the side on the front foot and kept the scoreboard ticking over. As a team, they were never as fluent as they have been in previous matches this season but with all the changes that was not surprising. 

Everything seemed to be running to plan when Brecon set up early pressure deep in the home 22. After an initial forward drive, the ball reached outside half Dean Gunter who stepped back inside and drove over the line for a try which he converted. The only hint that things may not be straightforward came when the home outside half dummied on half way and cut through a splintered defence to score and convert thus drawing the scores level. 

 That was a warning that the home side could not be taken lightly as they possessed some dangerous backs. Initially that was heeded and Brecon quickly restored their lead by being pragmatic. Andrew Hosie won a line out some 10 metres out from the home line and set up an effective maul which rumbled over the try line for hooker Alan Taylor to score. 

Brecon then took complete control and should have scored on a number of occasions had they only been able to hold on to scoring passes. Yet, in spite of their poor handling they dominated territory and possession. Both props, Andy Nicholl and Kevin Jones, showed their power with ball in hand as they surged forward in their opponents 22 and a score finally came when Number 8 Jonathon James broke on an unstoppable run from a scrum close to the home line. Gunter again converted and Brecon turned round at half time with a comfortable lead.

Within minutes of the start of the second half Jonathon James picked up his second carbon copy try. Now well in control, Brecon tried to expand their game a little more but again, although they created gaps, there was not the fluency of previous matches. Yet there was no reason to think that the game would be anything other than a comfortable victory. When a Garndiffaith prop went off injured and uncontested scrums were called there still seemed little to spoil the party as Crockett set off on a blistering run from half way and scored to allow Gunter to stretch the lead to 24 points with twenty minutes to play.

A flurry of substitutions took place as Brecon looked to bring on fresh legs against tiring opponents but at this point the game took a sudden departure from the script. Brecon’s scrummage dominance was negated by the uncontested scrums. They also lost their cohesion at line outs and when they did have the ball their handling presented their opponents with more opportunities than it created for them. Whether the team became complacent is hard to establish but suddenly they were on the back foot with the momentum swinging towards the home team. Gardiffaith made the most of their opportunity. They deservedly posted a score as their wing ended a sweeping move in the corner. That score visibly lifted them and within no time they added a converted try from a neat move where they switched the ball back inside to bamboozle the Brecon defence. Now they were prepared to run everything as they saw the possibility of a remarkable turn-around. 

From their own 22 they ran out of defence and through the now almost non-existent visitors defence to score in the corner and put themselves seven points adrift with minutes remaining. Again Brecon allowed their opponents to get onto the offensive as their hands let them down but this time Brecon’s defence held firm and to the relief of the visiting support the final whistle brought an end to a miserable final quarter.

With a return to league action at Risca next week, Brecon will have to put this most recent performance behind them but they will also have to use it to understand that opponents cannot be taken lightly and only with the full commitment of the whole team will they build on what has been a remarkably good start to the season. That success was built on hard work and togetherness and that needs to continue if they wish to establish themselves as a consistent force in the League.