Fixture

Penallta RFC | 1st Team 13 - 24 Brecon RFC | 1st Team
Dean John Gunter
2 Conversion
Ryan James
1 Try
Tudor Roderick
1 Try
Owen John Morgan
1 Try
Jake Crockett
1 Try

Match Report
14 April 2019 / Team News

Penallta 13 - Brecon 24

To say that the end of the season for Brecon RFC is hectic is an understatement. During the three weeks since 23rd March Brecon have played five matches and that should have been six if it had not been for the fact that their Saturday opponents, Cwmbran, failed to raise a team. Not only has the workload been intense but it has also been enormously successful. The three week phase started with a hard fought bonus point win against Pontypool United. A week later the team produced a brilliant performance to claim a place in the WRU Plate final, defeating their closest league rivals, Penallta, in the process. Four days later they held off a very strong challenge from Ynysybwl in a match played in distinctly gloomy conditions. By the following Saturday it was back to business with an emphatic nine try victory at Risca before preparing for a mid-week match at Penallta. Having left their rivals in their wake in the Plate they now faced them in the first of their two league matches. There could be no doubting the fact that this match, played on the Ystrad Mynach 3G artificial pitch, had the potential to be a season defining moment.

For Brecon it would have been easy to be both mentally and physically drained as they prepared for one of their biggest challenges to date. Certainly the physical aspect was having an impact. In spite of the fact that the coaches had managed the team well while remaining unbeaten some important figures picked up injuries. Cameron Garner broke his hand in the Pontypool match. Jonathon James picked up a knee injury in the Plate semi-final. Then outstanding captain Ewan Williams,  left the field against Risca with a tweaked hamstring and Chris Davies injured his ribs. In preparation for the big match against Penallta, therefore, there was a reshuffling job that had to be done. That was accomplished and from there it was a question of the coaches preparing the team both mentally and physically. Coaches Andy Powell, Matthew Lewis and Matthew J. Watkins were acutely aware that Penallta had a number of factors in their favour. Being familiar with the artificial pitch and playing in front of home support and with the motivation of gaining revenge for the Plate defeat they were undoubtedly dangerous opponents. A bonus point win for them would draw them level in the league with leaders Brecon and perhaps the final league placings would rest on the result.

Certainly Penallta started with all guns blazing. No quarter was given or expected and the re-shuffled Brecon side were put under pressure. Some of the physicality did seem to overstep what was acceptable. Brecon battled hard but as the half progressed they fell behind on the sore-board. A converted try and a penalty gave Penallta a ten point half time lead.

At the start of the second half Brecon needed to dig deep both physically and mentally. Even for the opening exchanges the togetherness of the Brecon team was evident. They all played for one another and put their bodies on the line. They frustrated their opponents and gradually began to gain control as the Penallta team became ill disciplined. Nobody, however, could have been prepared for what was to follow. With Penallta seeming to be more concerned with physically intimidating their opponents Brecon focused on what they do the best, they played 15 man rugby. The tide turned in their favour and they capitalised scoring four tries featuring Ryan James, Owen Morgan, Tudor Roderick and Jake Crockett and Dean Gunter added two penalties. Penallta’s only response was a penalty while two of their players were sent from the field by the referee, one with a red and the other with a yellow card.

When the final whistle went Brecon celebrated their win with a bonus point to give them a ten point league advantage. Disappointment followed as they prepared for the weekend. Their opponents, Cwmbran, pulled out of the fixture with only ten fit players available. With Penallta playing bottom side Hartridge everyone anticipated that Brecon’s points advantage would be trimmed to five. When the news came that Penallta had lost by 31 points to 33 there was an element of disbelief. After the initial reaction quick calculations were made and it became clear that 8 more points from the remaining 4 matches would give Brecon the title. Quickly the coaching team dismissed all such thoughts with the only thing that matters for the time being is next Saturday’s match at Pontypool. After that the focus can turn to the Plate final and only then can the team start to think about closing in on the Title.

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