1XV v Trinant (Away) 26 Nov 2011

28-23 Win

Out in Front

Despite the strong winds, murky atmosphere, heavy underfoot conditions and cold hands, joy resulted from last week’s game at Trinant.

The bonus point gained from their four try, 23-28, away win moved Monmouth into a one point lead at the top of the Swalec Division 5 East table and still with a game in hand!

The season still has a long way to go but there was much encouragement as the Monmouth pack again dominated in the set piece plays with some sparkling line-out takes and drive after drive in the scrums which on the day shone forth as their best attacking ploy on the day.

There were of course drawbacks too – the biggest of which was what appeared to be a nasty knee injury to fly-half Rhys Ricketts early in the second half.

Kicking out of hand and at goal proved a difficulty in the strong wind and it did not help in the first half that the pace of the game was rather frantic which played at times into the hands of the foraging home team.

Scrum-half Gareth Morgan was back to his sharpest and deserved to be first on the score-board with a try. The kick, like many others failed as did a kick at goal a minute later but Trinant playing with the wind dug deep and took the lead 7-5 and extended it to 10-5 ten minutes before half-time with a successful penalty for a Monmouth tackler not releasing.

Monmouth having had the bulk of possession realised they deserved better reward for their efforts and took play back to the Trinant line where from a maul, hooker Ed McCord added another five points.

Keeping up the pressure, a local defender felt the need to offend by joining a ruck from the side and Ricketts was pleased to get on the score-board with a penalty to sneak a 10-13 half-time lead.

Pressed to keep up the good set-piece work and use the wind for a more controlled kick and chase game with a little more energy and conviction, Monmouth set off to do what was asked of them only to conceded a penalty for failing to release in the tackle which Trinant converted to tie the scores again.

Ricketts missed a kick in return and then fell to his injury after substitute full back Huw Adams had made good ground up to the left only for a pass to stray forward.

Adams took over the fly-half mantle using his quick feet and physique to force another try which wing Matt King was pleased to convert given the conditions but the 7 point lead was not to last more than a few minutes as the home team pack battered the visitors’ line incessantly to break through for an unconverted try.

Monmouth forwards again took charge and by way of retaliation battered the Trinant line with scrum upon scrum instead of penalty kicks until a push-over try extended the lead to 18-25 limited to that only by the ironwork. But when King stepped up to kick a magnificent goal from half way, a bit of breathing space seemed to have been achieved.

The pace and excitement continued however despite the gathering gloom with missed penalties from both sides and then a long kick and chase deep into the in-goal area on the right when the referee, swayed by the rousing cheer of the home team supporters who questionably were even more unsighted than he was, awarded a try to Trinant. Whether the crowd or their team deserved the bonus point thus gained is a moot point, but certainly both teams had struggled hard to put on a very competitive game for the crowd in adverse conditions for which they both deserve credit.

They will probably both relish the chance for a rest next week when Wales take on Australia.

Tries: G.Morgan, E.McCord, H.Adams, M.Griffiths
Conv: M.King
Pen: R.Ricketts, M.King

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