Fixture

Hartridge RFC | 1st Team 0 - 20 Brecon RFC | 1st Team
Dean John Gunter
1 Conversion
1 Penalty
Jake Crockett
1 Try
Ryan Williams
1 Try
Cameron Gardner
1 Try

Match Report
24 September 2018 / Team News

Match report - Hartridge RFC V Brecon RFC

Following a winning start to the season, Brecon travelled to the southern reaches of Gwent to the city of Newport to make their first visit in the league to the Hartridge club, located to the south eastern edge of the city, on the RIngland Estate, near to the former Llanewern steelworks site. The reason for this first visit was the fact that Hartridge have been newly promoted to Division One East this season, having enjoyed something of a stellar rise through the league structure with promotions having been achieved in the five consecutive previous seasons. 

To that end, this represented something of a journey into the unknown for Brecon, although the current league positions, with Hartridge yet to register a point, indicated that they, perhaps were struggling to come to terms with the latest leap up the league ladder. This was balanced against the fact that the success enjoyed by the club, certainly since their current inception in 2005, has been done without the level of funding that more established clubs have been used to from the WRU, and this has, without doubt, engendered a very fierce determination to prove doubters wrong.

The journey south saw the weather turn increasingly unwelcoming and the seasonal summer wear of the Brecon supporting contingent was replaced by waterproof clothing and umbrellas! The heavy periods of rain would obviously be a factor in proceedings, although any concerns in this regard were set aside by sight of a perfectly maintained playing surface, at the Llanwern High School site, that was still firm underfoot and provided the potential to play the high tempo brand of rugby that Brecon keep striving for.

The visitors played with the wind at their backs in the first half and, it is fair to summarise, proceeded to dominate the game in terms of both territory and possession. Whilst enjoying this superiority, Brecon were initially unable to translate this into a positive indicator on the scoreboard, as they committed a series of errors, unforced and under pressure, which hampered their efforts. The issue for them was not the lack of effort or endeavour that, again, was commendable on their behalf. The errors were often manifest in a lack of accuracy and execution as the Brecon team often appeared too hasty in seeking to deliver a telling blow. Notwithstanding the nature of the playing surface, the overall dimensions of the playing arena were less than Brecon would be used to at their home patch, and this proved telling as they sought to spread the ball wide.

The amount of pressure and territory was, inevitably, going to be reflected on the scoreboard, and one particular move saw centre Joe Evans take a great line off fly half Dean Gunter and, having broken the first line of defence, he was able to offload to partner Cam Gardner who powered over near the uprights for the first try of the game. The conversion by Gunter, allied to a penalty he landed, gave Brecon a 10-0 platform from which they would look to move away from their hosts on the scoreboard.

It remained a frustration for the visiting team, management, and supporters that they were not able to do this and, increasingly, this frustration amongst the players saw them fall foul of the referee’s interpretations, and the penalty count against them stalled any momentum.

The first half petered out to this particular pattern of events as Brecon continued to press strongly, creating numerous opportunities, yet not capitalising on them as they made errors or showed indiscipline at key moments. The opportunities were there to do that, as the set piece had been an area of strength, with the scrum dominant, and Brecon were also challenging the home team on their line out with great success.

As they ran for the cover of the changing hut at half time, the coaching staff would have been aware of the need to increase composure levels and be patient in terms of delivery. This would particularly be the case as they were to play the second half into the elements.

The first action of the second half raised hope and spirits as skipper Ewan Williams gathered the kick off deep in his half, and ran the ball back powerfully. His initial burst was well supported and the Brecon team showed the requisite composure and skill to transfer the ball effectively to enable left wing Jake Crockett to cross wide out for the second score.

This should have been the key strike that would embolden the team to raise the level of their game, and pull away from opponents who, whilst competing bravely and tackling with spirit, were not threatening the Brecon defence in any meaningful manner.

It is a source of deep frustration for the Brecon contingent that this did not happen, and the game thereafter stagnated into a scrappy affair, both figuratively and metaphorically, as the discipline of both teams fell away, and the referee was required to show a number of yellow cards, two to the home team and one to the visitors.

This had the effect of taking any constructive momentum out of the game, and Brecon were honest in their appraisal after when they acknowledged that they were not precise or focussed enough in their play.

The game meandered to a disappointing end with Brecon only able to break down a steadfast defence on one occasion as, following a successful driving maul, hooker Ryan Williams broke away to score a well deserve try that capped a fine performance with ball in hand from him.

The final winning score of 20-0 to Brecon reflected a well deserved victory, as they were the superior team in many facets of the game. Unfortunately, it remains the case that their attacking play is not yet at the standard to which this team are capable. They remain a threatening team with ball in hand, with attacking options all over the park, yet they are yet to convert this into a dominant performance, showing eighty minutes of ruthless focus and attacking execution.

Notwithstanding, they will be aware that they currently stand at having won four games out of four, but will also be reflecting that, as the season progresses, there will be greater challenges ahead.

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