1XV v Llanhilleth (Home) 07 Apr 2012

52-12 Win

Easter Treat For Monmouth

A good crowd were entertained to a 7 try feast last Saturday in a 52-12 win over visitors Llanhilleth including two tries for centre Dewi Lane and 17 points from in-form kicker Rhys Ricketts.

After a vigorous start, Monmouth pressed deep onto the Llanhilleth 22 metre area, No 8 Mike Griffiths drove into the defence around the ruck leaving scrum half Gareth Morgan to feint right and expose a gap through to the line near the posts.

Llanhilleth knuckled down in period of give and take with several Monmouth attacks ending in touch or with the referee’s whistle. Another sortie by the Monmouth backs looked like succeeding but was thwarted by a good tackle which fortunately lowered the height of the Monmouth attacker just in time to avoid the worst of a high tackle designed to remove the upper par tof his head. Ricketts made the offender pay with the penalty.

An increase in tempo brought a switch by Morgan from right to left leading to probably the best try of the game scored by centre Lane who did not need the assistance of the spare men outside him. Ricketts again oblige with the kick.

Digging in deep the visitors began kicking long and deep for position but was able to gather one which he put back some 65 yards into touch to temporarily relieve the pressure.

To and fro the game went and near half-time Ricketts chose to kick speculatively from near half way for the final act of the half.

The game was not yet won by any means even though the home team backs were clearly superior. The plan was now to keep things simple, disciplined and with everyone supporting one another an dinitially one wondered if the message had sunk in.

Attempts to run the ball out of defence when a kick or pass would have been preferable from the start added to Monmouth’s initial self inflicted pressure, but such a long kick from fly half Ricketts saw wing Matt Tabb flying up to pressurise the defender and his charged down kick brought the score to 24-0.

Llanhilleth were becoming more frail in defence in the face of the rampant home back row and probing kicks from the Monmouth backs; leaving only good fortune to save then from another score as they ran across field and had yet another relieving kick charged down.

Still inside the third quarter, centre Andrew Davies jinked and forced his way through clutching defenders to reach out when finally tackled to score right on the line, leaving Ricketts with an easy coinversion.

Concentration must have slipped a little because quite against the run of play Llanhilleth conjured up a long distance try on the right and then a mistimed early tackle by Tabb which led to the only fisticuff skirmish of the day, saw him sin-binned for ten minutes.

But the balance was re-dressed by a referee who was firm but punctiliously fair, sending off a Llanhilleth player in turn for tripping.

Flanker Ed Wheeler took advantage of the dispirited opposing ranks by charging into and over the line next. Their complaints that he had not released the ball in a tackle were refuted by the referee who rightly said he had not been held but dissent that followed led to the departure of yet another player to the bin.

Llanhilleth were ragged now and Lane took full advantage first by scoring his second try of the game under the posts and then with another burst finding flanker Ed McCord on his inside to round off Monmouth’s seven tries.

Right on what was to be the final play the Llanhilleth full back completely outflanked the Monmouth defence to run in an impressive consolation try for a final 52-12 score.

Spirits were high in the dressing room and even more so when Rickets was acclaimed the Player of the Month, but attention is already focused on the away game at Trinant next Saturday which again is a ‘must win’ contest.

Tries: G.Morgan, D.Lane (2), M.Tabb, A.Davies, E.Wheeler, E.McCord
Conv: R.Ricketts (4)
Pen: R.Ricketts (3)

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