Fixture

Brecon RFC | 1st Team 37 - 30 Blaenavon RFC | 1st Team
Dafydd Edwards
Try 1
Davey Herdman
Try 1
Ryan Williams
Try 1
Darren Llewelyn Witcomb
Try 2
Dean John Gunter
Conversion 3
Penalty 2

Match Report
30 December 2018 / Team News

Brecon 37 - Blaenavon 30

Brecon’s final league match of 2018 propelled the team to the top of Division 1 East where they lead their nearest rivals by four points and boast a 100% league record to date. The bonus point win against Blaenavon brought all that Brecon desired but it was a win that said a lot about sheer grit and determination rather than the quality of the flowing rugby. On a dark and damp December afternoon Brecon faced Blaenavon a team which has steadily improved as the season has progressed. Brecon started the game in exciting fashion and after 15 minutes had built an impressive 15 point lead while totally dominating the game territorially and on the scoreboard. There were, understandably, thoughts of a comfortable ride to end the year. Such thoughts were quickly dispelled as, with their first attack of the game, their opponents hit back not once but twice to reduce their deficit to just 5 points. From that point on this pattern was repeated over and over again until Brecon pulled away in the last minutes and held on to finally shake off the dogged and determined Blaenavon team.

There could be no doubt that the game was won at forward. Apart from one isolated occasion, Brecon dominated the scrums and their forwards, particularly Ewan Williams, Davey Herdman, Jonathan James and Man of the Match, Darren Witcomb regularly made inroads into the Blaenavon defence. Supporting them was scrum half Lewys Cooke who was lively with ball in hand and his probing runs initiated a number of Brecon’s best attacking moments.

There was no doubt that Brecon were frustrated that they could not shake off a battling Blaenavon team which showed more than just determination, particularly in the mid-field where their outside centre caused the Brecon defence considerable problems. The frustration built as the game progressed and lengthy dialogues developed between players and the referee. Finally, he had enough and sent Dean Gunter to the sin bin at a critical time. With a man advantage Blaenavon were certainly in with a chance of winning the game as they reduced the lead and finally levelled the scores as Gunter started to settle back into the game at the end of his banishment. Thankfully Brecon showed great resilience to score again for a lead which they comfortably held to the final whistle.

The game, which was full of twists and turns, started with little hint of the trauma to follow. Darren Witcomb scored at the end of an impressive line out drive and then on the 8th minute Dean Gunter added a penalty. For the next seven minutes Brecon looked impressive. Mike Powell almost scored as he latched on to a Gunter kick but just lost possession as he zoomed in on the line. However, Brecon were not to be denied and a penalty kick to the corner led to another driving maul which wing Dafydd Edwards joined. He plunged over for Gunter to add the conversion.

Everything seemed to be going Brecon’s way until Blanavon got to grips with the game. A penalty allowed them into Brecon territory and their forwards rumbled through a few phases before the ball was moved into mid-field where their centre cut back and stepped clean through the home defence. The conversion and two penalties, which almost immediately followed, allowed Blaenavon to reduce the deficit to just two points.

As half time approached Brecon hit back with their best try of the day. Initially they went for another driving maul but as the momentum slowed, they spread the ball wide and then back inside via flanker Ioan Edwards to fellow flanker Davey Herdman who crashed over near the posts for a converted try and a half time lead of 9 points.

The ebb and flow of the game continued into the second half. Blaenavon reduced the deficit again with another penalty and Brecon then added a penalty of their own to re-establish the status quo. The game then became fractious and finally Gunter was sent to the bin. Brecon fought hard to keep Blaenavon at bay but finally the extra man told as they moved the ball wide and again their number 13 was influential. He made a half break and his supporting full back finished the move for the conversion to bring the visitors back to within two points.

Immediately Brecon hit back. Eifion Jones almost crossed under the posts but although he fell just short the ball was re-cycled and finally Darren Witcomb crossed for his second try. The conversion failed leaving Brecon seven points ahead. If the game followed the pattern established in the early stages then there was room for further twists and turns and so it proved. From the kick off Brecon tried to run out of defence. A pass was intercepted in mid-field and Blaenavon scored a converted try to level the scores.

All the hard work undertaken since the start of the season was under threat but Brecon were given an opportunity at the kick off. Blaenavon were penalised for another bout of verbal abuse and Brecon kicked for the corner. Their initial drive off the line out was illegally brought down and a Blaenavon forward was punished with a yellow card. The next driving maul, against a reduced pack, could not be stopped and Elgan Lewis grounded the ball over the line. Dean Gunter converted magnificently from the touch line. There was still time for another twist in this remarkable game but this time Brecon were able to see out the game while being camped in the visitors’ half. The final whistle brought relief to the home team and supporters but it also brought the realisation that the hard-fought victory had undoubtedly kept their League ambitions alive as we approach the mid-point of the season.

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