1XV v RTB Ebbw Vale (Home) 17 Sep 2011

23-7 Win

A Solid Win

Early season Swalec Division 4 East League leaders RTB Ebbw Vale were comfortably turned over 23-7 by Monmouth 1st XV last Saturday at the Sports Ground.

Played in dry conditions but with a swirling wind which limited the points tally from kicks for both teams, RTB started the stronger in ruck and maul, keeping Monmouth on the defensive for the best part of the first ten minutes.

But the defence was strong and when Monmouth flexed their own muscles it was unfortunate that when back rower Mike Griffiths took a few opponents with him over the line the referee was unsighted and a good opening score was lost.

Not to be outdone left wing Chris Reed with electrifying pace and steps first in then out, rounded off another Monmouth attack almost instantly and clearly setting the visitors aback.

Competition for Player of the Month is fierce and Chris, for his performances thus far must be one of the several in the running for the accolade.

Although playing equally well, full back Rhys Ricketts missed with the kick and several others as the wind swirled the ball away from the posts, but he was to make up for this when he rounded off a good back row move to score the final try of the game as well as collect two penalties along the way and one conversion.

In between, there was much to-ing and fro-ing, but Monmouth’s greater strength in the pack ensured superior possession and territory throughout for the home team with new fly-half Aaron Price growing in confidence all the while.

RTB were let back into the game near the end of a keenly contested first half when scrum-half Gareth Morgan took a quick penalty and had his pass intercepted in mid-field. No amount of feeling hard done by because the ball was snatched by someone questionably under ten yards away from the penalty would do as Monmouth now had to start again.

Within two minutes of the interval a break by Morgan, carried on by 2nd row John Powell, led to a penalty which Ricketts confidently converted to regain the lead 8-7 and four minutes later stretched it with another to 11-7.

Now, playing down towards their favourite corner, Monmouth began to trundle RTB backwards and after battering away at their line their defences ultimately cracked again and pack leader Will Copley barged over for a well deserved try. Ricketts was again in target, moving the score on to 18-7 and then adding the final five points of the day.

With ten minutes to go, RTB were determined to preserve pride and play was equally shared apart from one burst down field after replacement scrum half Ludo Thomas kicked ahead long but sadly too hard to see it run dead before he could be up to touch down.

A good performance overall, led well by stand-in skipper and centre Andrew Davies. The pack is strong and the back row sparkling and rugged, complemented by sharp half backs and good strike runners throughout the backs.

Spirits are currently high for now, ‘fuelled by Ty Gwyn Cider’ and the generosity of match sponsors Dave Tynan and Matt Ricketts but coach, Ian Seymour, will be keeping his eyes on injuries and some planned departures and where the strength in depth at the Club fits in with an away visit to Crumlin this coming Saturday.

Tries: C.Reed, W.Copley, R.Ricketts
Conv: R.Ricketts
Pen: R.Ricketts(2)

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