Druids v Pill Harriers (Away) 21 Jan 2012

34-20 Win

Druids Win in Style

A tough challenge faced Monmouth Druids away at Pill Harriers on Tredegar Park Newport. The Druids who are top of the Pontypool & Newport League were facing opposition who are in third place. Another factor was that Pill defeated the Druids earlier in the season at Monmouth so revenge was on the cards for the visitors.

Playing with a strong wind at their backs, the Druids must have hoped to get a sizable lead before the second half efforts. Pill Harriers pack had the better of the first twenty minutes as their scrummage made life difficult for the visitors. The Druids makeshift front row particularly found life difficult. Pill Outside half kicked well but never really got his line moving.

It was the Druids who struck the first blow with a play that has shown real benefits to the team over the years. They set up a rolling maul on the home sides 20 metre and they trundled and trundled over the Pill Line and Flanker Gavin Jones was awarded the touchdown. Captain Dave Brace converted to give the Druids an early lead of 7-0.

Brace kicked two further penalty goals and Pill responded with a try in the corner which was converted. So would a 13-7 lead be sufficient to secure a victory for the Druids?

With the benefit of the wind in the second period, the Pill Outside half kicked well and he pinned the Druids back in their own 20 metre area. In addition he kicked a penalty goal and prospects looked bleak for the Druids. A further try again in the corner was once more converted to give Pill the initiative and the lead.

Dave Brace rallied the troops and the Druids knew what was expected. Substitutions were made by both sides although the visitor’s players looked to be superior. Forward play from the Druids put pressure on the Pill line. Prop Stuart Williams picked up the loose ball and crashed over for a well taken try. What was he doing there? Brace converted to retrieve the lead 20-17.

Pill drew scores level through a long range penalty goal by their outside half and with 20 minutes remaining, it was all to play for.

The Druids looked to move the ball through the hand and the tackling of Pill was looking suspect. From a scrum deep in the home side territory, Outside half Aarun Price feinted to pass and ghosted through to touch down with two would be tacklers on his back. Dead eye Brace converted and only another fourth try would put the icing on the cake.

This duly came from a break by Scrum Half Tom Cratchley. From a scrum he broke and run 30 metres and as he was tackled he flicked the ball backwards only for that man Brace to fly hack through and touch down near the posts. He inevitably converted to make the score a 34-20 victory to the Druids.

Dave Brace’s 19 points was vital but Pill,s attitude as the match progressed was suspect. What a match, what a score, what a referee!

Tries: Gavin Jones, S. Williams, A.Price, D.Brace
Conv: D.Brace (4)
Pen: D.Brace (2)

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