1XV v BlaenauGwent (Home) 15 Sep 2001

10-31 Loss

On a beautiful day for fast running rugby, Monmouth 1st XV took on Blaenau Gwent at home and went onto attack from the start.

There was a strong wind blowing diagonally across the field and Baenau’s good line kickers were able to kick long against the run of play.

Although Monmouth’s defence appeared to have the situation covered, the ball bounced cruelly and the visitors were in front with a converted try.

Undeterred, Monmouth continued to play a high intensity game and before long left wing Matthew Morgan ran in a very determined try, made by fullback Andrew Davies. Dave Croudace added the extra points.

The home side continued to dominate territorially, but some wrong options and misplaced kicks from time to time meant that, despite all the opportunities and promise of a good first half, they turned round with just a three point lead, thanks to a Croudace penalty.

Monmouth were now feeling confident, with the wind and the slope and a stern reminder from their coach that the visitors would now get stuck in, and they soon found out just how true the warning was.

With typical valleys spirit, the game became harder, leading to the binning of a Blaenau forward. Far from cooling the game, this merely spurred the visitors on.

Their tactics had also changed to one in which wither Blaenau’s fullback or centre kicked the ball deep dehind Monmouth, to keep frustrating them, forcing them to run the ball out of defence rather than using the strong wind to gain territory.

Heads were starting to go down Monmouth’s side and a serious incident, when both packs were heavily involved in a fracas, which led to the sending off of a player from each side.

Again, rather than deter, this encouraged the visitors to be even more rugged in their play and they scored a further three tries and two penalties to run out winners by 31 – 10.

Despite looking faster and fitter in the first half, as well as winning much excellent line out ball, Monmouth failed to take advantage of the situation. The technique is obviously there and what they need is either some luck to consolidate it, but perhaps a little extra steel is needed too, for when times get hard.
In fact something stirring will be needed if they are to progress beyond Trinant in this weeks Welsh Cup match.

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