1XV v Risca (Away) 14 Jan 2012

40-17 Win

Monmouth Keep Up The Winning Habit

Faced with a late withdrawal by yet another Swalec League team, Risca came up late Friday with the offer of a development game against their 2nd XV provided scrums were uncontested. Monmouth accepted preferring to try to keep their winning habit going rather than have no game.

Winger Gareth Morgan graced the score-sheet twice with four of his colleagues completing the 6 tries and with fly-half Rhys Ricketts impressively on cue with five conversions in a 40-17 victory where no penalty kicks were attempted.

The still, if cold, conditions combined with the lack of contested scrums ensured a free flowing game throughout bar the odd handling error from chilled hands and it was an excellent up-field break on the right by No 8 Mike Griffiths which led to the first try, and the first of this season, by the ever in support utility forward Stacey Edwards.

Young wing Matthew Tabb was next to open up play with a strong counter- attacking run through several tackles. The recycled ball went out to centre Dewi Lane who carved through the defence and when checked 15 yards out, the other wing Gareth Morgan was on his inside to secure the first of his tries. Ricketts comfortably added the extra points.

Maintaining the pressure, with scrum half Ludo Thomas able to create gaps where they seemed almost not to exist, Monmouth were soon running the length of the field. 2nd Row John Powell was picked out by a long pass to the left wing and he bowled over a defender spectacularly before losing the baqll when finally tackled.
From the ensuing scrum, Thomas ran right and flat dummying all the way to go over untouched near the posts.

Risca were soon down to 14 men for persistent loose play infringement but the loss of a prop with no real scrummaging made little difference because it was the home team which scored next, exploiting the defensive hole created by a temporary injury to a Monmouth centre. The easy conversion made it 7-19 at the change around.

The Coach Ian Seymour, keen to continue a running game, urged his players to concentrate on moving the ball away from contact with an emphasis on supporting runners and to his credit, after a searing run by full back Anthony Layne almost to the posts, John Powell was on hand to crash over making for an easy conversion for Ricketts.

Risca had by now stiffened their backs by substitutions who began to test Monmouth more but their defence held well despite some considerable pressure until, ten minutes in to the half a display of slick passing saw an overlap created for a score on the far left, too distant for the conversion.

Monmouth immediately rallied and when Layne was tackled near the line, Morgan took a quick penalty to allow Lane to emerge from under a heap of defending tacklers and move the score plus the kick to 12-33.

Morgan was next to get on to the score-sheet when he fly-hacked the ball a good 60 yards, finding time to pick up just short of the line to go over for another converted try but although there was still 20 minutes to play it was Risca who rallied and putting together a good move of their own closed the gap to 17-40.
All was not over however as Tabb picked up a loose ball in broken play, ran 35 yards or so but just as he crossed the line was not alone in being surprised when the home touch judge belatedly raised his flag for an apparent line-out.

The game rather fizzled out at this stage but at least everyone had achieved a much needed run out and some youngsters received some more blooding in Senior rugby which all helps fr the future.

RTB are next week’s opponents away in Ebbw Vale which will prove a good further test of Monmouth’s prowess as they compete with Hafodyrynys for dominance in the league.

Tries: G.Morgan (2), S.Edwards, L.Thomas, J.Powell, A.Layne
Conv: R.Ricketts (5)

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