Druids v Gwernyfed (Home) 10 Sep 2011

24-14 Win

Brace kicking the difference

The dawn of a new season saw Gwernyfed visit Chippenham Mead to face Monmouth Druids. The visitors were to be complimented for traveling despite being only able to field fourteen players.
Selecting a side which consisted of the tried and tested mixed with the young and promising, the Druids were hoping to start the new league season with a victory.

Bright sunny conditions greeted the sides as the game kicked off. The Druids led vociferously by Captain Dave Brace, were hoping to exploit their one man advantage. Despite having the better of early play, it was the visitors who drew first blood through a penalty goal from 30 metres. This was quickly equalized with a penalty from the Druids Captain.

The Druids were now having slightly better of the play and deserved to take the lead in the game. A scrum five close to the Gwernyfed posts saw Number 8 Nick Phillips pick up and use his bulk to drive over the visitors line for a try which was converted by Dave Brace. A penalty goal from each side brought the half time whistle with the score to 13-6 in favour of the home side.

Rustiness was prevalent in the play from both sides and dropped passes and some suspect set piece play spoiled promising moves. The Druids line-out needs practice and the scrum lacked authority but their tackling was really good.

Two penalty goals from Brace and one to Gwernyfed was the scoring record early in the second period as both sides sought opportunities. Druids wing, Matt Lovatt, fresh from a visit to New Zealand, almost added a try when he chased his own kick ahead but the ball ran over the dead ball line just before he touched down.

Yet another penalty goal from Brace seemed to have made the game safe for the Druids at 19 points to 9. Gwernyfed had other ideas however. They created an overlap on the right hand side and the spare man crossed wide out. The conversion failed but the visitors were now within a try of the Druids total.

The Druids realising they were in danger of losing the match stepped up a gear and put pressure on the visitors line. The Gwernyfed defence were closing down the home side backs with good effect and snuffed out the attacking threat. In one such attack Druids Centre Matt King put in a grubber kick behind the visitors defenders. He quickly followed up and dived on the ball to score the decisive unconverted try.

A 24-14 victory then and plenty of promise for the season ahead. The tackling was a plus point but more game time will bring improvements in other facets of play. Tom Hurst worked hard and was forceful whilst Scrum Half Mike Hall put in a very promising display. It was a Captains performance however from Centre Dave Brace which was crucial.

Tries: N.Phillips, M.King
Conv: D.Brace
Pen: D.Brace (4)

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