Brecon travelled to Ammanford at the weekend in the midst of Storm Kathleen, to face a home team seeking revenge after a 31 points to 22 defeat at Parc de Pugh earlier this season, writes Ron Rowsell.


Fortunately, both for players and spectators, the rain associated with the storm held off until after the match, but on a lovely playing surface both teams had to deal with a crossfield gale. That made conditions difficult for handling, kicking and catching and had a big impact on throwing in at the line-out.

For much of the first half Ammanford coped rather the better of the two sides, particularly at the line-out, where a combination of conditions and the quality of the home jumpers Callan Davies and Ollie Close, resulted in Brecon losing six line-outs on their throw within the first 30 minutes. Without possession, Brecon struggled impose themselves and fell behind twice before the closing stages of the half when they showed their ability with ball in hand and scored two great tries to lay the foundation for a 32 points to 17 win, earning their 14th try bonus point of the season.

Warning signs were evident at an early stage. Brecon pressed but twice lost line-outs when in good attacking positions. Ammanford responded with a huge kick downfield and set up a good attacking platform. It took a wonderful Matthew Williams turnover penalty to relieve the pressure. Yet again Brecon lost a line-out on their throw and again Ammanford kicked into the Brecon 22. Brecon’s defence held firm but finally Ammanford deservedly took the lead with a successful Ryan Williams penalty.

Brecon hit back immediately. Ammanford knocked on off the kick-off and Brecon forced the home defence to scramble the ball into touch on their 22. At last Brecon won an attacking line-out. They first moved the ball left and centre Tomos Davies made inroads and delivered quick ball at the tackle breakdown. Scrum half Carl Blacker switched play right to Tom Richards who showed strength and balance to beat his man on the outside and stay in field before linking with Jake Crockett. On Crockett’s shoulder was irrepressible flanker Matthew Williams who took the final pass and crashed over for his first try of the season.

Brecon’s lead was remarkably short lived. Another lost line-out gave Ammanford possession in the Brecon half and this time the home side made good use of the width as left wing Fraser Gregory ran in for a try which Williams converted with an impressive wide conversion in the most testing of conditions.

At this point it was clear that Brecon were in a real battle and they needed to raise their game if they were to continue their winning sequence. The team responded just as their coaching team and supporters would have wanted. The line-out started to function and the scrum began to win penalties. With possession Brecon showed what they could do and were clinical. First the lead was cut to two points when Dion McIntosh kicked a penalty. Then, when they were awarded a penalty in the home 22 they opted for a scrum as the Brecon front five of Andy Nicholl, Dewi Edwards, Owain James, Richie Davies, Ben Pritchard and Geraint Powell, who was prominent throughout the match, started to take control of the phase. Off frontfoot ball Carl Blacker went blind to right wing Geraint Walsh. Walsh stepped inside and linked with prop Richie Davies, who carried close to the line and then Brecon went blind again for Walsh to score in the corner.

Geraint Powell had a good match for Brecon
Geraint Powell had a good match for Brecon (Brecon RFC)

With the final move of the half Brecon scored an outstanding try. Again, the score started with a scrum on the Ammanford 22. Again, the scrum moved forward and Blacker went right. Full back Jake Newman took the pass, straightened and then popped a superb blind pass to looping Blacker. Blacker passed wide to Walsh who again beat the first man, drew the final defender and fed Tomos Davies who produced another standout performance and went over for his eighth try of the season. McIntosh converted and Brecon went in for the half time break with a 10-point advantage.

Tomos Davies finishes a brilliant Brecon attack
Tomos Davies finishes a brilliant Brecon attack (Brecon RFC)

The second half could not have started any better for Brecon. Within the first few minutes they increased their lead to 15 points. Again the score started with an advancing scrum on the 22. This time impressive number eight, Logan McIntosh, broke off the back, linked and looped brother Dion. With left wing Jake Crockett entering the line on the right, space was created for Walsh to run in for his second try.

Ammanford were stunned by the accuracy of the Brecon assault but they were not beaten and when right wing Ceri Rees gathered a loose Brecon kick they hit back. Rees ran, chipped over the Brecon defence and won a penalty in the Brecon 22. Off a five-metre line out the home pack drove over for a try which Williams converted.

Brecon hit back again after wasting a couple off opportunities when Jake Newman was ignored when free and the outside and Ryan Davies was denied when it was ruled that he had been held in a tackle before driving over the line. The final score eventually came after some great work by ever-present flanker Ioan Edwards. He made a great tackle and dislodged the ball. Off the ensuing scrum Dion McIntosh made the half break and fed Crockett who ran in for his 12th try of the season.

McIntosh converted and Brecon travelled home with the five points they sought and celebrated with the Athletic team which pulled off a good 26 points to 21 victory at Tredegar against the Ironsides, their 17th win of the season.