1XV v Usk (Away) 26 Dec 2011

17-13 Win

Monmouth Get the Double on Boxing Day

With the Druids having excelled themselves on Boxing Day morning scoring more than 60 points without reply, Usk were predictably more determined at home in the afternoon resulting in an exciting and hard fought game full of suspense to the very end.

Monmouth got out of the blocks first and spent much time in and around the Home 22 but without scoring until scrum-half Ludo Thomas ran an arcing line which ended under the posts without so much as a hand being laid upon him. Fly-half Rhys Ricketts added the extra points with ease.

Usk bounced back though with the aid of a charged down kick and after a penalty kick into the left corner, their vigorous pack drove up to and over the Monmouth line for an equalizing 7 points.

The Monmouth back line was looking sharp and left wing Gareth Morgan outstripped his support for once but Usk’s desperate defence gave Ricketts another kicking opportunity for Monmouth to edge into the lead.

With only a quarter of the game left and the excitement so far the partisan crowd had much to savour with Usk driving around the fringes and Monmouth trying to spread it wider, both defences were on their mettle. Centre Chris Reed put in a try saving effort but when Thomas put in a deep relieving kick, Usk countered well, this time being thwarted by a knock on.

Usk it was though to score next tying the scores wit a penalty kick for a turn around of 10-10.

Both sides set to after the break with the same vigour and it was Monmouth to crack first with Usk going ahead with a penalty 13 minutes in.

The crowd were becoming more excitable as many minor decisions seemed to go the way of the home team and in keeping with the Yuletide spirit the referee appeared to allow Usk to encroach over the off-side line spoiling Monmouth’s ball at the set pieces.

Tension grew and Usk dug in to defend their narrow lead, with tempers flaring around the end of the third quarter. A yellow card a-piece was used to calm things down and Monmouth battered away again and again whilst also bringing on every substitute available to them.

The lights came on but the error count continued to climb as individuals tried almost too hard often dying with the ball rather than rounding off exciting incursions with a score.

The intensity continued with people falling like flies prolonging the game by the vital extra five minutes that were to determine the result.
Second row Johnny Powell gained a second wind and made a bruising run into the home defence followed soon by substitute back row man Ed Wheeler making a magnificent charge deep into the right corner with but minutes to play. The ball was quickly recycled and spun left along the line for the ever eager Morgan to ground the ball. The kick was not an easy one but Ricketts drilled the ball inside the upright to the sound a the final whistle on 13-17 to the disappointment of the Usk payers and a second win for Monmouth there in the space of 9 days.

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The next challenge is Pontllanffraith at home on the Sports Ground at 2.00p.m. on New Year’s Eve and the way Monmouth are playing it should be well worth a visit.

Tries: L.Thomas, G.Morgan
Conv: R.Ricketts (2)
Pen: R.Ricketts

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