1XV v Blackwood Stars (Home) 07 Jan 2012

56-7 Win

Monmouth 10 Try Blitz

On a sunny Saturday afternoon league leaders Monmouth took on mid table Blackwood Stars who can be formidable opponents.

The game started with Monmouth intent on entertaining a large crowd including Monmouth’s sponsors all eager for a good game after lasts weeks disappointing cancellation. Adam Roberts who had a fine game at full back opened the scoring after four minutes with the first of his two well taken tries. The pressure on the Stars scrum was starting tell but the referee did not seem to want to deal with the opposition front row standing up but instead gave Stars the feed for turning through 90 degrees. Even the home linesman Nick Atkinson was showing leniency towards the visitors much to the annoyance of the home crowd.

After 25 minutes Dewi Lane brilliantly held the ball up near the line to allow the supporting Monmouth players to join him. The ball was recycled and scrum half Ludo Thomas put a deft chip over for Dewi to touch down for the second try to make the score 10 points to nil with Rhys Ricketts failing to convert.

Next on the score sheet was Sam Harding after a good line out take by Mike Griffiths and Mark ‘Jock’ Jones popped up in centre field and rolled back the years with hip swivel and dummy which sent opposition the wrong way and popped a perfectly weighted pass to Sam who scored under the posts and Rhys added the conversion to take the score to 17 nil.

Another five minutes passed and another 5 points on the score board with Monmouth counter attacking from their own 22 yard line after a quickly taken penalty by Ludo Thomas and good running from Andrew ‘Spud’ Davies who drew the man and put Adam Roberts away to dive over for his second.

Blackwood Stars rallied and their flanker took advantage of a rare attack to dive over and they added the conversion to make the half time score 22 -7.

The game restarted with Rhys Ricketts putting in some superb territorial kicks to make up for his indifferent conversion attempts and Gareth Morgan was next on the score sheet with a well taken interception try ticking the score over to 29 – 7 and the Stars must now have known today was not going to be there day.

The next Monmouth try was probably the pick of the bunch with the excellent Ludo Thomas picking up from the base of an attacking 22 metre scrum and when it looked like the defence had closed him down he chipped over the top and coolly waited for the ball to pop up into his arms to touch down. Ludo was the catalyst all game for most of the scores and his quick decisions and hands tormented the Stars.

Gareth Morgan added another try to take his tally up to two for the day as he and fellow winger Rob Farr revelled in the conditions and another quickly taken penalty almost resulted in a Farr score but he was thwarted by a good tackle which may have been a little high but the ref let it go.

The next try was added by Mike Griffiths who picked up at No.8 and charged towards the line and bulldozed the Stars large winger out of the way to score an excellent try taking the score to 44 -7. The winger however took exception to this and took a swing at Griffiths and Thomas before having to spend the next ten minutes on the side line.

Coaches Ian Seymour and Martin Davies were able to make some changes and the ever excellent Will Copley had a rare rest being replaced by George Shirlaw. Lee Watkins and Anthony Layne also joined the fray but such is the strength of the squad bolstered by good Druids and Youth teams, there was no let up on the pressure for Blackwood. Another quickly taken tap penalty by the excellent Ludo Thomas lead to well-deserved try by winger Rob Farr which Ricketts converted.

The last try was scored by replacement Shirlaw who galloped home after some excellent handling and support to bring the final score to 56 -7.

This was an excellent all round display by an increasingly confident Monmouth team full of youth and experience. It’s hard to pick out individuals when all played so well but the Monmouth ‘Stars’ were the back row of Dave Morgan, Ed Wheeler and Mike Griffiths who had a faultless performance and complimented the excellent Ludo Thomas allowing him the time and space to perform with aplomb.

Without Sponsorship clubs such as Monmouth would not exist and they were all treated to a deserved feast of food, beer and rugby.

Next week Monmouth 1sts XV take on Newport Saracens away (14th Jan 14:30pm KO)

Tries: A. Roberts (2), G. Morgan (2), D. Lane, L. Thomas, R. Farr, S. Harding, M. Griffiths, G. Shirlaw
Conv: R.Ricketts (3)

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