Fixture

Penallta RFC | 2nd Team 22 - 12 Brecon RFC | 2nd Team
Philip Saunders
4 Penalty

Match Report
07 May 2017 / Team News

Penallta 2nd XV 22 - Brecon 2nd XV 12

Brecon 2nd XV brought their season to an end with an exciting Cup Final against high flying Penallta. The game was played in dry conditions but with a strong cold wind blowing straight down the pitch. Brecon started the game playing into the wind and they started particularly well. They kept the ball alive and regularly went through a number of phases. The back row of Josh Millichap, Aeron Evans and Jonathan James carried the ball aggressively and worked hard at the breakdown. Jonathan James in particular was a thorn in the Penallta side both when making ground through the tackle and when hammering his opponents to the ground in the tackle. With outside half Phil Saunders setting his back line in motion Brecon looked dangerous and both wings Stuart Slough and Gary Cole made good runs, with Cole being brought down only just short of the line. Brecon were rewarded for their enterprise when Phil Saunders kicked two penalties.

Gradually Penallta gained some possession from their dominant scrum but for a time they were thwarted by Brecon’s level of competition at the breakdown where a number of turnovers were secured. Second row Mitch Colacott got through a mountain of work as Brecon began to face pressure for the first time in the game. The pressure came from the fact that Penallta were now dominating first phase possession. Brecon’s scrum was under pressure and the line out hardly produced any good ball and yet Brecon’s enthusiasm and commitment helped them maintain their advantage until they made their first mistake of the game. A penalty kick for touch should have given Brecon a line out in the opposition half but the kick was fluffed and Penallta ran the ball back at the opposition. They gained good ground and when Brecon were penalised in their own half the Penallta outside half slotted a penalty to reduce the deficit to three points.

The score was a turning point in the game. Penallta grew in confidence while Brecon suffered from their failings at first phase and yet it took a totally unexpected phase of play to suddenly allow Penallta to take the lead. With Brecon pressing on the Penallta 22 a Brecon high tackle was penalised. The lively and influential Penallta outside half decided to run. He made some ground and drew the Brecon defence before putting his right wing in possession just outside the 22. The powerful and pacey player swatted away two attempted tackles before bursting down the wing and finally beating the last defender to score.

With ten minutes to go to half time Brecon now needed to survive until half time when they could turn around and play with the wind at their backs. Unfortunately they failed to survive unscathed. When Penallta turned Brecon over at a ruck in the Brecon half they immediately spread the ball wide and created an overlap for their left wing to canter over for a converted try. Then right on half time they lost a scrum and Penallta finished clinically with a converted try under the posts.

Brecon kicked off the second half with the wind at their backs but with a deficit 22 points to 6.  The gap was large particularly as Penalla was winning the first phase battle but Brecon were not prepared to cave in. They took the game to Penallta and dominated territory. Their pressure brought some reward and some hope. Two Phil Saunders penalties reduced the gap to ten points and the momentum was with them. Unfortunately a serious injury to one of the Penallta players brought the game to a halt. For twenty minutes the player received good care on the field until an ambulance finally took the player away to hospital with the message that perhaps the injury, while serious, may not lead to long term disability.

When play re-started, Brecon hammered away. On three consecutive occasions they won penalties and went to line outs in the corner yet on three occasions they were repulsed. When the final whistle blew Penallta celebrated and Brecon looked back at a battling performance when they could never quite match the power and finishing of their opponents.

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