1XV v Brynithel (Away) 15 Oct 2011

16-16 Draw

Hard Fought Draw

After high-scoring wins earlier this season, it was a shock for Monmouth players and supporters alike how hard the team had to scrap to achieve a last gasp draw of 16-16 last Saturday at Brynithel.

Games there are always fierce affairs especially in front of their voluble and demanding crowd, and this was no exception with four local brothers in their team leading the way.

The hosts missed with a penalty in the first minute and were also first on the score-board with a successful kick only five minutes later for a lifting tackle which proved far less dramatic than events that morning on the other side of the world.
The game was punctuated by the whistle, compounded by confusion galore. The referee signaled poorly, and was regularly drawn into debate with players and even spectators at times. But Monmouth players have still not learned that one needs to play the referee and not dispute his actions. Brynithel were similarly verbal but seemed to achieve decisions their way as a result and perhaps Monmouth must re-think how they, too, can legitimately get into the referee’s ear during games. But dissent does not work.

Monmouth’s front five drove well and their back row scavenged to the best of their ability but it took several attempts at goal for fly-half Rhys Ricketts to eventually take Monmouth 3-6 ahead before the break, but with the strength of Brynithel’s driving mauls and the vigour of their forwards, it was probably just as well that the slope would be to the visitors’ advantage in the second half.

Wider plays with better support to prevent moves from faltering and deep kicks into the left hand corner were what were needed and after Brynithel had missed yet another penalty, Monmouth kicked downfield and from a subsequent maul, Will Copley rounded off a fine period of pressure with a try. Ricketts added the extras to make things look good with a 3-13 lead only ten minutes after the re-start.

Brynithel are nothing if not determined, resiliently counter-attacking whenever they could, and undoubtedly helped by the loss of a visiting back row player to the sin-bin, stretched Monmouth’s defences considerably. Several times Monmouth snuffed out attacks but fell to a quickly taken penalty which narrowed the gap to 10-13.

Both sides were now fighting hard, although not literally (at least in the open that is), but it was Brynithel who were still benefitting most from the penalty count, eventually taking a 16-13 lead from two successful kicks with minutes to go.
Nail biting it was but Monmouth eventually struck deep into their opponents’ half and Ricketts strode up to clinch the draw with a nervelessly taken penalty.

A fair score in the circumstances but better discipline by Monmouth could have made their afternoon much easier, which is an important lesson to learn before their next league game when they are home to Hafodyrynys who will prove tough opponents indeed.

Try: W.Copley
Conv: R.Ricketts
Pen: R.Ricketts (3)

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