1XV v Ynysddu (Away) 31 Mar 2012

35-22 Win

A tense but purposeful Monmouth 1st XV took the field at Ynysddu last Saturday to confront one of the larger of their remaining hurdles in this Swalec League Division 5 season and the first ten minutes was all action by them but without a score.

Twice early potentially scoring attacks ran out of gas or into touch, first by right wing Matthew Tabb and secondly by No 8 Mike Griffiths both of whom were to play prominent parts in the exciting game that transpired.

1XV beat Ynysddu

Defences were strong and penalties frequent although often seeming to be unbalanced to Monmouth’s detriment, although the first points kicked by fly half Rhys Ricketts, were just reward for a high tackle on Tabb as he took the ball on after a sharp break by scrum-half Gareth Morgan which could well have brought the first try of the game.

But twenty one minutes passed in all before such a score when the ball flowed left this time via Dewi Lane and once in the hands of the eel-like left wing Rob Farr, Ricketts was soon converting the try.

Ynysddu were rattled by this and their deep probing kicks down-field were gaining ground and exposing some indecision in the Monmouth ranks as well as a very uneven bounce on the bone hard ground. Following one such bounce Ynysddu all but scored but their grubber kick fortunately ran dead to spare some defenders’ blushes.
Instead the home team took play towards the visitors’ line and following several drives through their forwards brought the score back to 8-10 only to see Monmouth immediately rally and run the ball back through the hands of Farr, Morgan, linked by prop Paul Stockley, who was having his best game in the loose in addition to his usual strength in the tight, taken on by Farr (again) and rounded off by flanker Ed Wheeler.

1XV beat Ynysddu

With this the tide seemed to turn for a while in Monmouth’s favour, with a (rare) forward pass decision in a near scoring move by Ynysddu raising a cheer from the visitors quickly followed by a penalty score by Ricketts for a handling offence.

Both sides pressed hard for another score before half-time but it was Monmouth who prevailed with immense pressure on their opponents’ line and after several rebuffs, flanker Ed McCord went over to secure an 8-27 lead.

The first ten minutes of the next half was likely to prove crucial but Monmouth contained Ynysddu well initially, but after a quarter of an hour their speedy left wing made the inroads Ynysddu required complemented by an excellent kick from the touchline.
Not to be outdone Monmouth worked their way back deep into the opposing half to be thwarted by an outrageous off-side offence which gained them three points although with a professional foul such as this one might have expected a more robust response from the match official.

Lane was next to cross the line but his kick ahead outran his chase when it probably deserved better.

1XV beat Ynysddu

Not to be outdone Monmouth kept up the pressure and when the ball was spun left to Monmouth’s overlap side, Farr took it upon himself to crash over rather than risk the further pass. Ricketts again added the extra points but there was more to come.
The visitors were back to appearing to be on the rough end of refereeing decisions and Ynysddu were to score again to bring the score to 22-35 which obviously gave them the bit between their teeth to try to obtain a losing bonus point.

Despite the substantial injury time allowed, Monmouth held on and were spared any further scores by an opposing knock on in the corner and the final whistle on a a very eventful game that saw them leave with an important 4 try bonus point.

The pressure remains and visitors Llanhilleth are the next challenge on the Sports Ground on 7 April.

Tries: R.Farr (2), E.Wheeler, E.McCord, D.Lane
Conv: R.Ricketts (2)
Pen: R.Ricketts (2)

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