Brecon RFC gathered on Saturday for what was only their second home game in 2024 - running out winners against Ammanford.



The weather was to prove to be somewhat influential as the game progressed, and the teams and supporters gathered on a gloomy late winter day, although the playing surface was immaculate following the continued efforts of ground staff Norman Williams and Tucker.

The greyness of the surroundings was, possibly, sadly apt, given that it had been a difficult day for some club members as it coincided with the funeral of a former player, Will Bush, who died in tragic circumstances recently. The moment was marked by a minute of silence from all at the ground, prior to the kick-off and, needless to say, the thoughts and deepest sympathies of all involved with Brecon RFC extend to Will’s family at this difficult time.

The kick-off was delayed to allow attendance at that sad event, and Brecon are grateful to Ammanford for their understanding and cooperation in this.

The home team warm up was somewhat truncated by some of the squad arriving later at the ground, although as the game progressed through its early stages, it is not something that would have been noticeable to the good crowd who had assembled to support the home team.

The first 20 minutes saw a period of Brecon dominance, that hinted at a comfortable result after the home team took the lead. This, however, was not to come to fruition and the game evolved such that, whilst not a context of the proverbial two halves, was certainly something that saw significant swings in balance of control of territory and possession for both teams, and was somewhat perplexing in how it played out over the full 80 minutes.

Brecon v Ammanford
Brecon captain Alwyn Lee surges towards the opposition try line (Mark Griffin)

That early Brecon dominance was built on set piece control and dominance, allied to the team making significant yardage with the ball in hand when carrying. The defence, when called upon, was generally steadfast with hooker Aneurin James setting his continued high standard in this regard as he committed strongly to every point of contact.

Osian Davies was prominent also, particularly with his kick off returns, whilst his co-flanker Kristian Dacey was hugely effective at the breakdown and contact areas.

The latter was also a factor in the first Brecon score of the game as, after a number of effective phases that saw Brecon probe deep into the Ammanford half, he appeared out wide to provide the scoring pass that set Jake Crockett, back after a few months injury absence, free to beat the last defender for the opening try.

Brecon v Ammanford
Brecon’s victory against Ammanford marked a welcome return from injury for Jake Crockett - who promptly scored the game’s opening try (Mark Griffin)

Somewhat against the run of play in this period, Ammanford hit back with a score of their own, after an uncharacteristic lapse in defence, for their own first try that, unlike Brecon, was not converted.

The remainder of the first half saw Brecon then enjoy a long period of superiority, and they were extremely effective, and particularly powerful up front. The set piece precision was highlighted by a good take at the line out by No.8 Logan McIntosh, from which a dynamic driving maul was set up. This moved at a good pace some 15 metres towards the visitors tryline, only being stymied by an Ammanford induced collapse that saw the referee award a penalty try to Brecon, and also a yellow card to the perpetrator of the offence.

The home team pressured the visitors for the remainder of the half, and were able to put some constructive phases of play together.

This involved a continued focus on the benefit of the set piece, and also a positive energy at the breakdown and in the collision areas.

From one of these periods of a number of phases, with quick recycling, the ball was worked wide to winger Sam Jones who took advantage of the position of seeing an opponent on the back foot, and used this to engineer space to score on the right flank. A successful day off the tee from flyhalf Dion McIntosh saw the conversion steer the home team into a extended lead that, despite a penalty delivered by the Ammanford No 10, saw the half time whistle come with Brecon 21-10 to the good.

The break saw the teams retreat to the changing rooms to reflect on a first period that had swung to some extent, but was marked by Brecon being the team on the front foot. The coaching group would have asked for more of the same, particularly given the benefits of using a bench that didn’t diminish the tempo nor commitment.

The opening period of the second half saw the game swing back and for before Brecon enjoyed a sustained period where they attacked for a concerted and extended period of time.

This was ultimately reflected in another period of scrum pressure where the home pack drove over the allow Logan McIntosh the much appreciated luxury of diving on the ball for a ‘pushover’ try, that was duly converted again by his sibling.

This ensured at least a bonus point and, at this point, the home support would have been forgiven in asking how much further the lead would be extended. The fact that this didn’t happen owed much to a number of factors, including Ammanford belying the worsening conditions to showcase their impressive pace and handling out wide, and some curious decision taken by the home team when in possession.

Brecon v Ammanford
Prop forward Owain James and flanker Ioan Edwards gain valuable yards in the second half (Mark Griffin)

The use of the ball became less focused, and it was from some home mistakes, and loose kicking, that Ammanford suddenly managed to turn the momentum of the game by scoring two well taken tries, which narrowed the lead to 28-22 as the game moved into the final denouement.

To the concern of the home support, this was a period where, what appeared to be moving towards a comfortable victory was suddenly seeing the possibility of the Wildboars stealing the spoils at the last moment. As the visitors pressed, the smart money, given the momentum of the game, would have tended towards an Ammanford win.

Brecon were able to stem this tide and recouped and counter attacked. This led to a sustained period of pressure which led to a penalty which, given the fact that it was the dying embers of the encounter, saw Dion McIntosh land a penalty on the stroke of the final whistle to secure the bonus point win, and to deny Ammanford what many would have agreed would be a deserved losing bonus point.

The post game reflections acknowledged that it had been a compelling final period, and plaudits must go to referee Mark Butcher who, whilst tensions rose in both camps, was still able to proactively over the advantage option to teams in the ascendancy. As ever, the thanks of Brecon RFC go to those who make themselves available to ensure games can go ahead.

The interview with Dale McIntosh after the game acknowledged the recent travails that the team has gone through, and also congratulated the visitors on their strong performance. Another Six Nations weekend will see the team focus on the midweek training sessions to ensure that the whole of the Senior group is in a competitive place, and fully geared towards the upcoming fixtures against Maesteg Quins and St Peters on March 2.

The weekend at Parc de Pugh was also crowned by the impressive group of Youth players performing magnificently to claim a win against the visiting Penarth, so the clubhouse duly celebrated a great weekend for all involved.