Brynmawr RFC | 1st Team 14 - 32 Brecon RFC | 1st Team
Eifion Jones
3 Try
Dean Gunter
3 Conversion
2 Drop Goal
Ewan Williams
1 Try

Match Report
11 November 2018 / Team News

Brynmawr 14 - Brecon 32

 There are many defining moments in a season. On their own they may not ultimately determine the final outcome but they will have an impact. One such incident occurred in Brecon’s top of the table clash with Brynmawr. In the second quarter of the match, Brecon, playing with a significant wind at their backs held a relatively slender 7 point to nil advantage. Brynmawr who had been outplayed in the first quarter suddenly started to get to grips with the game as their scrum began to take control. After winning a penalty at a scrum on half way they kicked for touch deep into the Brecon 22. Brecon’s pack held the attempted line out drive but conceded a scrum on their 5 metre line. Brynmawr’s emerging dominance at this phase had an impact as Brecon were penalised again and Brynmawr opted for a second scrum with the same outcome. As Brecon set themselves for the third scrum both sets of supporters and probably majority of the players, felt that a home score was almost inevitable. Against all the odds Brecon’s front row of Richie Davies, Ryan Williams and Andy Nicholl showed enormous character as they dug in, held and finally disrupted the Brynmawr scrum to allow Brecon to scramble the ball away, move up-field and score from a penalty off the reliable boot of Dean Gunter.

This was a massive turning point. If Brynmawr had drawn level at this stage while playing into the wind and also gained from the knowledge that they could dictate the game at the scrum then, the final outcome would most likely have been a home victory.

While this was a critical moment in the game it was not the main reason why Brecon overturned the previously unbeaten league leaders. This was undoubtedly Brecon’s best team performance of the season. The backs were outstanding. Against very good opponents they looked sharp and their movement and angles of running posed all sorts of problems. Dean Gunter, at the end of an excellent service from ebullient scrum half, Geraint Workman, was the master controller. Showing faith in his outside backs he was never afraid to move the ball even from deep in his half and yet, when needed, his kicking was almost flawless. Outside him the centre pairing of Sam Campbell and Cameron Gardner was outstanding both in attack and defence. The pair put in some crunching tackles whenever Brynmawr threatened and both were creative. Cameron Gardner’s break after some effective forward drives opened up the space for full back Eifion Jones to cut through and score.

Jones playing in a relatively unaccustomed position of full back looked completely at home. He dealt with the high ball effectively but his greatest strength was in timing his incursions into the line perfectly. So effective was he that he claimed a hat trick of tries during the afternoon. His second try was critical. With just ten minutes to go to half time Brynmawr had cut Brecon’s lead down to just three points. From a turnover, home centre, R. Gardner cut through a disorganised Brecon defence and set up a maul near the Brecon line, from where the pack drove over to score. D Butler converted from wide out to reduce the home deficit to just 3 points. With the half and wind advantage drawing to a close Brecon struck back. A Jonathan James charge through the heart of the defence and then swift accurate handling gave Jones his second opportunity. He took it despite the attentions of the home defence. Gunter failed to convert but added a penalty on the stroke of half time to give Brecon something of a cushion.

Considering the wind there was no complacency amongst Brecon ranks. They knew that Brynmawr were a very good side and with wind advantage they would pose a challenge. Brecon’s start to the second half, however, was faultless. They almost conjured an early score only to be denied by a forward pass but they were not to be denied. Wing Jake Crockett who had been a thorn in the side of the right flank of the home defence in the first half created the opening score of the second. On the counter he combined beautifully with first Geraint Workman and then Ewan Williams who drove over for a try which Gunter converted. Crockett also played a major part in Brecon’s fourth, bonus point try. Brynmawr failed to heed the advice of their coaches who pleaded for their side not to kick loose ball to Brecon’s wings with Both Crockett and Mike Powell making inroads every time they had the ball. When Crockett again picked off the loose kick and again beat the first man the opening was created and the execution was brilliant. Ewan Williams supported Crockett’s break and he gave Eifion Jones just a glimmer of a chance to score. Once again he finished clinically and with Gunter converting Brecon’s lead had mounted to an unassailable 25 points.

Brynmawr were battered and bruised but, good side that they are, they fought back. From a scrum on Brecon’s 5 metre line scrum half Bainton scored and Butler converted but in spite of a massive and creditable effort that was as close as it got. Brecon held on for an outstanding team victory which relied on 100% commitment from the whole team. While it had been the backs who were the cutting edge the forwards laid the platform. They battled hard and contained the undoubted strength of the Brynmawr pack. From the second row both Darren Witcomb and Jonathan James carried the ball with power and purpose, frequently breaking through tackles to get behind their opponents defensive line. In concert with the remainder of the pack the back row were once again outstanding. Although collectively they were much smaller than their opponents, they were never overshadowed by them. Davey Herdman, Ioan Edwards and Ewan Williams tackled, supported and carried with great effect.

While undoubtedly it was the players who deserve the plaudits the work of the coaches cannot be understated. The team of Andy Powell, Matthew Watkins and Matthew Lewis must be pleased that the team seems to have responded so well to the structures they have put in place. They, however, will be the first to congratulate their charges but also to remind them that they have to build on this outstanding result and not rest on it. Three critical league and a Plate match have to be negotiated before the Christmas break and the target must be to arrive at that break with the 100% record still intact.