Caerleon RFC | 1st Team 12 - 38 Brecon RFC | 1st Team
Dafydd Edwards
1 Try
Cameron Gardner
2 Try
Lewys Cooke
1 Try
Dean John Gunter
5 Conversion
Ewan David Williams
1 Try
Michael James Powell
1 Try

Match Report
06 January 2019 / Team News

Caerleon 14 - Brecon 40

The opening week of 2019 ended on the best possible note for Brecon RFC Players and supporters. The task set was a demanding one. In order to maintain their challenge at the top of Division 1 East they needed maintain their 100% league record with wins against Blaenavon on the 29th Dec and Caerleon on 5th Jan. In addition they had to squeeze in a mid-week match in the WRU Plate away to Rumney. The fact that they completed the week with total success was a credit to the preparation of the team. For that the coaches, Andy Powell, Matthew J Watkins and Matthew Lewis should be congratulated along with physio Rory Duffield and the players who showed great commitment at the end of the festive season.

The latest instalment, in what is becoming a record breaking season, came at Caerleon. Although the hosts are currently battling in the lower third of the table they recorded an excellent victory at the home of fourth placed team Pontypool United the previous week. They were obviously buoyed up by this experience and ready for the challenge the league leaders would present. The first impression as they took the park was that they were a big powerful team and not short of confidence. That was confirmed in the opening exchanges as Caerleon dominated possession. Brecon’s defence, however, was watertight although they found it difficult to get their hands on the ball. The home side in spite of looking competent and enthusiastic never really threatened to break the Brecon defence and once Brecon secured possession and territory they showed how to be clinical. Although the line out stuttered somewhat in the early stages the scrum was a potent weapon, disrupting opposition ball and providing the go forward momentum off which the backs flourished. After a few sorties down the middle to pull the Caerleon defence in, outside half Dean Gunter suddenly changed the pattern and kicked the ball wide. The kick was precise and wing Dafydd Edwards collected brilliantly while under pressure. Once he secured the ball he was away on the outside and cantered in under the posts to give Gunter the easiest of conversions.

Suddenly Brecon looked to be a side full of confidence. They moved the ball from all areas of the field with forwards and backs combining beautifully. The quickly extended their lead when the Caerleon defence failed to secure a chip ahead while under severe pressure. The ball bounced loose and Cameron Gardner pounced to score under the posts. The conversion was a formality.

For a time Caerleon hit back territorially but again they were repulsed with Sam Campell and Cameron Gardner snuffing out any hint of threat in the mid-field. With Eifion Jones looking impressive on the counter from full back Brecon soon returned to the offensive and scored a superb try from first phase. With Ioan Edwards taking clean line out ball, Brecon set for a maul but hooker Elgan Lewis broke away and set up a ruck. Off quick ball Brecon went wide against a narrow home defence and outside Centre Cameron Gardner cut through to run in for his second try. Again the conversion was a formality.

At this stage Brecon looked as if they would run away with the game but whereas previously they were clinical they now spurned chances as twice they should have scored only to lose the ball almost on the line. This was disappointing particularly after the quality of the build-up work and it did allow Caerleon to get a foot in the game when they scored an excellent converted try of their own with a move which started with a Brecon mistake on half way. With that score being the last act of the first half Caerleon gained confidence as the teams went into the half time huddles with their coaches.

The opening phases of the second half saw Brecon re-establish their dominance but it wasn’t initially reflected on the scoreboard. Once again tries were lost in the act of scoring and there were signs of frustration. Fortunately the frustration was soon to be quelled as the great movement and support finally manifested itself with a tangible result. With Lewys Cooke on the right wing being brought more and more into play he suddenly profited from another pin point kick. As with Dafydd Edwards in the first half he had a lot to do but he did it admirably in gathering the ball and beating the defence to run in under the posts. Gunter added the fourth conversion.

The fifth try came after some excellent work in which Richie Davies was particularly prominent. Brecon forced a line out in the home 22. Their driving maul looked unstoppable but it was brought down and the referee awarded a penalty on the five metre line. Brecon opted for a scrum and released the ball quickly. A pass back inside from Gunter gave Ewan Williams the chance to drive through under the posts. Gunter added the fifth conversion.

Although the result was now certain, Caerleon responded well emphasising the fact that they would not surrender. When they were awarded a penalty in Brecon’s half they took a quick tap and caught Brecon on the back foot, allowing them to gain the initiative and score a converted try.

With Brecon having made a number of substitutions the game could have petered out but the replacements were eager to show their credentials. Second row Iain Mitchell, on his first appearance with the senior team, made a strong run towards the posts and when brought down delivered quick ball which was spread right to replacement wing Mike Powell. He just had a sniff of an opportunity when he received the ball near the touch line, with defenders between him and the try line but he burst through the defence and scored in the corner. For the first time Gunter’s conversion attempt failed.

At the final whistle thoughts turned to the next big game when Brecon travel to Cardiff to face Rhiwbina in the last 16 of the WRU Plate. This will be a severe challenge with the hosts having only lost one league game in Division 1 East Central. The challenge, however, is one that the team are looking forward to. Nobody is taking anything for granted and there is a realisation that against the strongest of opponents they will have to take any opportunity if they are to have a chance of progressing. Fortunately they will travel in good heart with the whole club performing as well as it has ever done, for in addition to the success of the 1st XV, the 2nd string continued on their unbeaten journey with five wins out of five tournament matches at the Arms Park on Saturday and with the Youth winning at Pontyclun by 46 points to 17.