Druids v Abergavenny (Away) 07 Jan 2012

22-20 Win

Last Gasp Victory

On a perfect day for rugby, Monmouth travelled to Abergavenny missing some key players especially in the forwards. They faced a side which defeated the Druids on their own turf earlier in the season, so revenge was their aim.

The game started with the Druids, playing down the slope, taking the lead with a well worked try following a line out close to the Abergavenny try line. A fine leap from flanker Jack Howells set up a rolling maul which ended with Scrum Half Matt King touching down. The conversion failed but the successful start should have given the Druids confidence for the result of the game.

Slowly but surely Abergavenny worked their way into the game. A penalty goal from the home team reduced the arrears and the game took on a different look.The Druids missed a penalty goal and Abergavenny made them pay. A missed tackle in mid field by the Druids allowed Abergavenny to score near the posts. This try was converted to give the home side a surprising 10-5 lead.

The Druids reduced the lead through a penalty goal awarded for an Abergavenny defender not releasing in the tackle area. Dave Brace slotted the kick to bring the Druids arrears to three points. This was short lived as Abergavenny scored a good try through good crisp handling. The successful conversion put the score at 17-8 in the home side favour.The first period ended with Abergavenny having the better of the play and the Druids under real pressure.

This pressure allowed Abergavenny to increase their lead by three points through a 20 metre penalty goal.With only 20 minutes left to play a 20-8 lead looked very convincing and unlikely to be pulled back. The Druids made 3 or 4 substitutions and the fresh legs started to make a difference.

From a scrum near the Abergavenny try line Druids scrum half Matt King wriggled, twisted and dived over the try line for Dave Brace to convert. Abergavenny still held a 20-15 lead and the visitors stepped up their efforts. Good defensive work by the Druids nullified the home sides attacks which were normally in the form of probing kicks into the visitors 22 metre area. Full Back Mattie Morgan and Wings Tom Cratchley and Gareth Jones repeatedly cleared their lines to frustrate the Abergavenny attacks.

With five minutes remaining a vital score in the game that had supporters from both sides on edge.

A scrum 5 metres from the Abergavenny line was driven hard by the Druids pack. The home scrum broke up as it sped backwards and ultimately collapsed. The referee who showed little sympathy for the Druids during the game, had no hesitation in awarding the Druids a penalty try which David Brace converted to put the score to 22-20 in favour for the visitors.

In the final minutes, Abergavenny had two opportunities to win the game through penalty goals but in both instances the kicks drifted wide. So a hard earned victory for the Druids as they exacted revenge on a defeat by Abergavenny earlier in the season.

Matt Hurst had several strong runs and Matt King’s two tries were major contributors to the win. What a game played in the best of spirit by both sides.

Tries: M.King (2), Penalty Try
Conv: D.Brace
Pen: D.Brace

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