18 December 2023 / Club News

Next Opponents Brecon ..

Brecon RFC is proud of its long history within the game of Rugby Football. The first recorded match played by a Brecon team can be traced back to 1868. The club was a founder member of the Welsh Rugby Union and successfully celebrated its centenary during the 1979/80 season. At the start of the National League organisation, Brecon found itself in Division 8 Central and on the playing side the team struggled to make any progress, although the clubhouse, newly established in its present Watton premises, was thriving. Thanks to the foresight of the committee and a number of loyal former players, a new recruiting regime was established, and Mike Thomas was persuaded to join the Club as Player Coach. The success of this new regime was quickly evident, and Brecon climbed from the foot of Division 8 to Division 4 in successive seasons. Impetus generated in those days subsided for a time, until the 1st XV progressed to Division 3 in 2006/07. For the next two seasons they challenged for promotion. However, life became more of a struggle with the team just staving off relegation on a few occasions. In the 2012/13 season the team started poorly but by the time January arrived, the hard work of coaches Chris Yates and Graham Daley together with the collective endeavour of the team transformed the season. 2012/13 finished with an outstanding win against promotion winning Dowlais in the final of the Mid District Bowl. In 2013/14 the pattern was repeated. During a poor first half of that season just two league matches were won and yet post-Christmas only two league matches were lost. Again, the team progressed to the Mid District Bowl final, however, this time they failed to retain the trophy and they lost out on try difference to Wattstown in a match which was drawn 13 - 13.

Brecon galvanised itself over the summer break and started 2014/15 with a bang. A new coaching and management team of Alan Witcomb (Director of Rugby, Darren Witcomb (Team Manager) and Graham Daley (Coach) showed they were determined to buck the trend of the last few seasons and continue with a run of successes in the newly formed League Division 2 East Central. By the end of the season, they had fulfilled that ambition with the team finishing as clear league Champions and winning promotion to Division 1 East. At first, the senior side found life difficult in Division 1, with Eugene Murnane now directing the team as head coach. The first half of the season brought little joy and an immediate return to Division 2 was a distinct possibility. Yet the team showed resilience and by the time the season ended Brecon had secured a mid-table position. The following year was more marked, and Brecon climbed to 5th, their highest ever National league position at that time and gave an indication of what could be achieved. A distinct sense of anticipation leading into 2017/18 saw a new coaching regime introduced, with Welsh International and British Lion Andy Powell returning to his hometown Club as senior coach. He was joined by Martin Keylock and under their direction the team climbed to 3rd place in the League. 2018/19 started with a further Coaching change. Martin Keylock retired, and he was replaced by former Welsh International, Matthew J Watkins and Matthew Lewis. The season just got better and better. An undefeated run in the WRU Plate ended with an outstanding Cup Winning performance at the Principality Stadium, and not long afterwards Brecon were crowned League Champions of Division 1 East. As Leaders they earned the opportunity to play in a double header playoff for promotion to the Championship against Glamorgan Wanderers. The first game at home was won and the dream of promotion was within striking distance. Sadly, that final game proved to be one step too far as Glamorgan Wanders took the spoils on the aggregate score of the two matches.  Brecon settled as Champions of National League Division 1 East and WRU Plate Cup Holders. Sadly, the following season was curtailed as the country was plunged into COVIT Lockdown. The gradual resumption of Rugby in the Season of 2019/20 saw Brecon finish 4th in Division 1 East, Ystalyfera winning a friendly 26-24 away, taking a three-year undefeated home record.

In 2021-22 another friendly in Brecon saw the home side enact revenge with a 36-31 win.  A second-place promotion in 2022-23 lifted Brecon into the Championship West, where both sides meet in league fixtures since 1997-98.

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