For the fourth consecutive time since the current season started on September 2, Brecon Athletic were forced to travel away from home after the late cancellation of their match with Aberdare.
Fortunately, Mountain Ash stepped in to accommodate the Athletic who were eager to play and maintain the impetus they have gained with their previous three wins from three matches.
Mountain Ash Athletic 14 - Brecon Athletic 46
WRU Conference East Blue
With Mountain Ash’s first XV not in action, a large crowd turned out on a calm, warm autumn afternoon to witness an entertaining match. In some respects the game was made even more entertaining as both sides concentrated on running the ball when their kicking games from hand lacked any accuracy or control.
By contrast off the tee, Brecon’s Dafydd Edwards was almost immaculate as he converted five of Brecon’s six tries, added two penalties and scored a try for an individual points total of 21.
In spite of the margin of victory, the home side made a game of it and had the last word with a converted try at the death, but, by then the game had been lost as Brecon recorded a 46 points to 14 victory.
The early phases of the match, and the whole of the second half were totally dominated by Brecon. The front row combination of Rhys Mills, Tommy Witcomb and Josh Hamilton, together with replacement Dewi Worwood, regularly drove the home scrum backwards, often winning the ball against the head and providing a great platform to play off. In addition to their prowess at the scrum the front row union also made big contributions around the field. Tommy Witcomb claimed two tries, an excellent reward for his carrying, linking and support work across the field. Josh Hamilton was immense with the ball in his hands. The Mountain Ash defenders had great difficulty in stopping his charges as he ploughed through and sucked in defenders.
Behind the powerful front row Owain Williams, Aaeron Evans and replacement Will Prosser all had good games. They dominated the line-out both on and against the throw. All showed up well in the loose and as the game progressed so Will Prosser became more and more prominent both in attack and defence. The back row also had a big part to play in this dominant forward effort. No 8 Josh Millichap was his usual dynamic self, while flanker Iwan Davies was everywhere - tackling, carrying and linking. His co-flanker, Davey Herdman was outstanding. Mountain Ash struggled to contain his power and running skills. His contribution had a big impact on the game. Although Brecon dominated the early phases, they found it difficult to maintain continuity and opportunities to score were squandered. The only scores they posted came from full back Dafydd Edwards with two penalties and then after 20 minutes they found themselves behind, in spite of their forward dominance. The home score was remarkable. From a retreating scrum on the right of the home 22 their No 8 rescued the ball and broke. He linked with his young, quick backline and the ball was spread wide to the left wing. Brecon’s defence was caught narrow and the wing got away on the outside. A final, despairing high tackle halted him just short of the try line but the referee, justifiably, awarded a penalty try and showed a yellow card. Brecon were suddenly behind and Mountain Ash grew in confidence.
It was Davey who restored Brecon’s lead and dented their opponents’ confidence. A great run, in which he left defenders in his wake, ended with him crossing for Brecon’s first try with Dafydd Edwards adding the conversion. That score lifted Brecon and after a short period of Mount pressure Brecon ended the half with their second converted try as Tommy Witcomb finished after a number of close-range drives.
The second half started well for Brecon as their backs suddenly found their accuracy. Sam Hellard from scrum half sparked the first scoring move of the half. His run was carried on by wing Isaac Demesi, and centres James Hellard and Matthew Richards before Dafydd Edwards stepped past the last defenders for his try.
From this point on scores came thick and fast. Will Prosser, Josh Hamilton, James Hellard and Dafydd Edwards were involved in setting up a try for outside half Gareth Price who had a very good game as a link between forwards and backs.
Wing Ben Griffin finished the next after a superb solo run in which he outpaced the first line of defence and then beautifully stepped past the cover.
Finally, Tommy Witcomb scored his second try after a powerful run by replacement flanker Ryan Luker.
A return league match at home is now scheduled for Saturday, September 30 when the Athletic will be looking to make it a double and extend their winning sequence to five matches.
On the same day the 1st XV continue their league campaign with a visit to Trebanos. They two will be looking to extend their winning run and end the first month of the season with both teams boasting a 100 per cent record.