1XV v Ynysddu (Home) 12 Nov 2011

30-13 Win

Monmouth RFC Still Top

Ynysddu were predictably fired up on Saturday given that they had lost to Monmouth only a matter of weeks before in the Swalec Bowl, and it was they who initially took the play to Monmouth and scored first from a penalty kick in the frenetic opening moments.

The home team bounced straight back with fly half Rhys Ricketts kicking the first of his six successful kicks at goal as part of the 20 points he was to contribute personally by the final whistle.

Monmouth’s pack was relishing the game given their dominance at their last encounter and it was no surprise that following a line-out, Mike Griffiths, John Powell and Paul Stockley were prominent in taking the ball forward until the ball became available to left wing Rob Farr once again got on the score-board with a stirring run. Ricketts added the conversion confidently and Monmouth were 10-3 in the lead after only seven minutes of the contest.

Ynysddu spurred on by the very vigorous play of their blind-side flanker, complemented by an obvious tactic to move the ball away from the strong home pack, rallied, but Monmouth countered with enough pressure to force illegal handling in the ruck and another sweet kick at goal for Ricketts.

It was as well that Ynysddu knew how to defend because several times early in the second quarter they managed to rebuff individual attempts by both home team half backs as well as others.

Where they were not so good, was absorbing pressure in the scrums and at the next set-piece their front row was penalised for coming up in the scrum, giving Ricketts yet another easy kick at goal only to see the penalty being reversed because of some costly verbals aimed at the referee.

Next, a Monmouth prop left the field injured but the arrival of the little but ‘hard as nails’ Edwards as a replacement, brought no comfort to the visiting pack and when they missed a penalty kick at goal just before half-time the omens for them were not good.

The coaches were pleased with the first half performance bar the lapse in discipline, but it was Ynysddu who started well again and hence a good second half contest was in prospect.

Monmouth steadied their play and began to use kicks behind the defence to put Ynysddu under pressure and when this was compounded by the visiting scrum half stepping over his 22 metre line to execute a ‘box kick’ the visitors began to grumble at the referee who in fairness had not a bad game.

A poor line-out throw relieved the pressure on this occasion which was a pity as the combination of McCord as thrower and Griffiths as catcher was reasonably sound throughout.

Following a short spate of some unnecessary fisticuffs, the replacement of their scrum-half seemed to lift the visitors’ energy and the Monmouth defence was exposed enough for Ynysddu to score in the right hand corner to narrow the gap to 13-8.

Monmouth responded with business as usual and after five successive 5 metre scrums, surprisingly with no yellow cards for clear ‘professional’ fouls to prevent a score, another score finally came from a pick up by No 8 Griffiths at the back of the scrum to take the lead to 20-8 with 20 minutes still to play.

Eager play by both sides continued to excite the crowd, none more-so than a move involving a combination of scrum-half Ludo Thomas, Ed McCord and a strong running Adam Roberts which would have resulted in a score but for the very slightest of knock-ons.

A missed speculative attempt at a dropped goal added to the entertainment and then a driving maul to just short of the line, saw Edwards throw an excellent pass to (the younger) Ricketts who arced round to the right and using the players outside him as a foil, dived over two tacklers and in for the best touch-down of the day. His conversion and a subsequent penalty completed his 20 points in a convincing 30-13 win.

Confidence will be high for their away visit to Llanhilleth next Saturday as a result.

Tries:R.Farr, M.Griffiths, R.Ricketts
Conv: R.Ricketts (3)
Pen: R.Ricketts (3)

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