1XV v RTB Ebbw Vale (Away) 21 Jan 2012

36-0 Win

Bonus win for Monmouth at RTB EbbwVale

A strong blustery down-field wind was to influence play above Ebbw Vale last Saturday with the attendant threat on the field of the same player who had beaten Monmouth last season with his lengthy and accurate goal-kicking.

But Monmouth were disciplined and having created a bonus point 29-0 first half lead with the elements, RTB were forced to chase the game, ignoring possible kicks at goal in pursuit of tries of their own.

Monmouth were first into their stride putting RTB to the sword in the first series of attacks deep on the right with No 8 Mike Griffiths prominent. Having sucked in the defence at the ruck, the ball was moved swiftly left for centre Dewi Lane to complete the move. Fly half Rhys Ricketts kicked the first of his five successful kicks the day.

RTB realised they had a game on and pushed Monmouth back into their half for a sustained period but occasional breaks out at the end of the first quarter kept visiting hopes alive.

After almost 30 minutes play right wing Matthew Tabb counter-attacked from near touch in his own half, and having eluded many tacklers over 40 yards set the ball back for it to be moved to the left touch-line where centre Andrew Davies scored far out.

A high tackle brought a further three points from the boot of Ricketts and then collecting a deep kick on the run 2nd Row John Powell made dents in the defenders on the left.

With the recycled ball, the most striking solo effort of the day followed when No. 8 Mike Griffiths opened wide the home defence and pinned back his ears to touch down 50 metres later, untouched by human hand. Powell, in addition to being a considerable presence at the front of the line-out, capped a good day for himself when he completed a move into the left corner to bring the score at the change-over to 0-29.

The half-time break brought a brief if welcome respite from the fray because RTB would inevitably use the wind to their advantage penning Monmouth near to their line but this was to be far from the truth.

The wind eased slightly and by keeping kicks low, Monmouth spent at least 35% of their time out of their half helped by some excellent following up not least by hard tackling flanker Dave Morgan.

On one such occasion 13 minutes into the half, RTB found themselves on the back foot defending a maul and then successive scrums arising from penalty lapses until the referee had seen enough and awarded a penalty try to increase the lead to 0-36.

Now the stern stuff commenced and The Monmouth pack had to prove they could give as good as they got especially when losing Griffiths to a yellow card for what seemed a fairly incongruous tip-tackle.

The pressure began to tell and RTB crashed over at short range under the posts for what was to be their one and only goal.

Both sides were still trying hard and when RTB intercepted a pass amongst the backs Monmouth fitness showed as they tackled back crucially and well. Should RTB have scored again at this stage they might have grown in confidence.

The final move of the game fittingly belonged to scrum-half Ludo Thomas who pounced on a loose ball and hacked repeatedly upfield to be taken out without the ball but in the arguments on and off the field over whether a yellow card was appropriate, the referee called time and everyone was pleased to find some cover and warmth.

A good win with further encouragement for the team for the coming home game on 28 January against Crumlin.

Tries: D.Lane, A.Davies, M.Griffiths, J.Powell, PENALTY TRY,
Conv: R.Ricketts (4)
Pen: R.Ricketts

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