Brecon RFC | 1st Team 16 - 6 Dowlais RFC | 1st Team
Jake Crockett
Try 1
Lewis Evans
Conversion 1
Penalty 3

Match Report
07 January 2018 / Team News

Brecon 16 - Dowlais 6

For the first match of the New Year, Brecon faced Dowlais at a distinctly wet and wintery Parc de Pugh. The overnight frost cleared as a band of heavy rain enveloped Brecon and turned the Parc de Pugh pitch into a heavy slippery surface. Fortunately as the game commenced so the rain eased. In spite of this improvement it was obvious that conditions would not allow either side to play a wide expansive game. To the credit of both sides they did their best to keep the game flowing but as the game wore on so that ambition became more difficult to achieve. Handling errors prevented either side from maintaining long periods of continuity and the second half became a battle of attrition. Fortunately by that time Brecon had gained the upper hand particularly in the battle of the scrums. For the second week in succession the role of the front row was critical. The starting trio of Andy Nicholl, Kevin Jones and Elgan Lewis were all outstanding while the two second half replacements, Johnny Bowen and Ryan Harris continued the good work when their turn came to enter the fray. The one player who survived the full eighty minutes of hard, uncompromising rugby was Andy Nicholl. His scrummaging and some impressive carries ensured that he emerged as Man of the Match after his contribution to an important victory that maintained Brecon’s place at the top of Division 1 East.

Of course no game can be won by a single individual and there were some important contributions by a number of others. Captain Ewan Williams was, as always, a player who led by example while Darren Witcomb and Mark Squirrel did a lot of effective carrying. In the backs Lewis Evans took on the responsibility of goal kicking and on a decidedly difficult surface he responded brilliantly. He converted Brecon’s try with a magnificent touchline kick and struck three other penalties to post a 100% kicking record. Eifion Jones at centre was always threatening when he took the opportunity and set up the one try of the match which Jake Crockett finished brilliantly. It was also pleasing to see Gwyn Pengelly return to the field at full back and look impressive after a long lay-off.

Brecon, with justifiable ambitions of challenging for the League title, know that every game now is significant. With Brynmawr sweeping all before them, Brecon can not afford a slip up. With a number of players unavailable, in difficult conditions and facing a side which has won four of its last five matches this match had the potential to severely dent Brecon’s ambitions.

Dowlais opened the match with intent and posed a threat during the early phases. Brecon’s defence responded to the challenge and Dowlais were never really in a position to post a score. Once Brecon’s scrum forced a penalty out of their opponents and Brecon gained territory, they looked impressive in what were the best conditions of the day. Fortunately Brecon made the most of their opportunity. Eifion Jones made a great break in midfield and then some lovely handling gave Jake Crockett an opportunity on the wide outside. With little or no room in which work he managed to escape the cover with a great dive in at the corner. Lewis Evans brilliantly converted.

Immediately from the kick off Dowlais posed a threat. Brecon allowed the ball to bounce and they were put under severe pressure. A relieving kick was charged down and Brecon just managed to scramble the ball to safety. To their credit they escaped from this threatening position by showing confidence and ability. Ewan Williams broke from a scrum and then Brecon moved the ball wide and carried deep into the Dowlais half. A forward pass prevented a try but they were not to be denied and from a penalty Evans extended Brecon’s lead. Almost immediately the lead was further extended with another penalty as Brecon took control of the game.  Although Dowlais won a penalty of their own Brecon restored their 13 point advantage after a powerful run from hooker Elgan Lewis and some great srummaging. Evans again was unerring with the boot.

As the second half began so the game deteriorated with the conditions. Brecon were dominant in terms of territory. Opportunities came but against a stubborn defence and with little errors creeping in, adding to the score was proving to be difficult. In fact the next team to score were Dowlais when they converted a penalty after a rare excursion into the Brecon half.

From there on Brecon effectively took control of the game but with their line out becoming less reliable and with hands becoming cold and wet the team was unable to convert its superiority into a score. The closest they came was after a lovely Joe Evans attacking kick put Crockett behind the defence. He kicked ahead and looked certain to score only for him to be tripped by a covering player with the line at his mercy. The referee missed the incident but Brecon were now firmly encamped in the visitors 22. A number of scrums turned as Brecon drove for the line and forward after forward was stopped short. Eventually Brecon lost patience and moved the play wide but the final pass was spilled and Dowlais’ committed defence held out. With time running out the game concluded in a fairly uninspiring fashion as conditions got the better of the players. For Brecon they had the satisfaction of successfully negotiating past a potential reverse. For Dowlais they had nothing to show for their committed performance in which their defence resisted all but one of Brecon’s attacks.

The next three weeks see the Brecon side playing three home matches, one of which, is against Brynmawr RFC. The outcome of these home matches will surely go some way to determining who will come out on top at the end of the season.

First up Brecon entertain Croesyceiliog RFC on the 13th January, then comes the big one on the 20th January when Brynmawr RFC come to Brecon and finally on the 27th Risca RFC visit Brecon.

Under the stewardship of Andy Powell and Martin Keylock the team have been playing some attractive, entertaining rugby which is a credit to all the hard work put in by the players, coaching and support staff this season. The players are delivering on the pitch at the highest level the Club has ever played at and are doing Brecon town proud.  The next few weeks should be absolutely fascinating with home support being critical. The club therefore invites everyone to join them at Parc de Pugh and for any individual or group interested in coming to sample match day hospitality at Brecon RFC and be part of what could be a historic period then information can be obtained by contacting:-

Paul Amphlett 07817 068937, Andy Lewis 07770 944353 or Phil Buck 07803 920580