U10 v Pontyclunn (Away) 08 Jan 2012

33-28 Win

Monmouth Bears travelled down the M4 for their opening fixture of the New Year, to take on unfamiliar opponents Pontyclun for the first ever time. Having not played for four weeks and with much Christmas turkey and mince pies consumed in the mean-time, it was hard to gauge how the boys would fair on a mud-bath of a pitch, especially with a number of unannounced absentees – a real game of “two halves” ensued.

The Bears started sluggishly, forgetting the basics of getting the ball out wide, merely carrying it into a tackler and all seemingly bunching around the break-down. Thankfully, Pontyclun had similar problems, so the boys initially were able to keep them comfortably at bay with robust and confident tackling. Eventually, the boys finally got going with Will Ruck finding some space out wide to open the scoring, with the try converted.

It wasn’t long before speed-merchant Josh Lewis made his mark on the game with a quick brace of fine tries, both of which saw him leaving the host’s defenders grasping at thin air as he glided sublimely past them to touch down – both were converted to see half-time arrive with the Bears, playing well below their normal high standards, cruising to a 21 - 0 lead.

The second-half saw the hosts rejuvenated, with an almost full change in personnel taking to the field – two quick converted tries saw them right back in the game – the first courtesy of absent tackling and their second from an interception. Alastair McIntosh stopped the rot, atoning for his earlier intercepted pass, by scoring a typically robust try, this time converted by Will. Back came the hosts however, scenting blood and benefiting from further poor defence from the Bears, levelling the scores at 28 – all with two more converted tries.

It was thus all to play for in the last five minutes, with both teams searching for the winning score. The by now bewildered Bears finally regained control of the game, with better defence and ball retention, seeing them make ground and advance into their opponent’s half. A number of phases of play saw the ball eventually make its way to Ben Pilot, for him to run through two tacklers to touch-down. A nail-biting climax ensued with the Bears defending at the death, typified by a last-ditch tackle from Josh on his own try-line – the Bears however managed to hold-out for a narrow win.

This post-festive match provided at times some good rugby from both sides, with the game played in a great spirit and well refereed. However, the Bears will be disappointed that their great defensive record was seriously dented by conceding four fairly soft tries against ordinary opponents, having only conceded on average less than one try per game pre-Christmas – tackling drills next week!

Final Score: Pontyclun 28 – 33 Monmouth

Tries: Josh Lewis (2) Will Ruck, Alastair McIntosh & Ben Pilot

Conv: Ben Pilot (3), Will Ruck

Player of the Week: Rhys Williams

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