1XV v Caldicot (Away) 05 Nov 2011

20-10 Win

Monmouth still ‘Bowling’ along

In addition to the thrill of moving on to the 3rd round draw of the Swalec Bowl last Saturday, victory by four tries to one was all the more sweet because it was away against Caldicot who were promoted last season after only narrowly beating Monmouth to do so.

Despite several changes and new faces, Monmouth played with determination throughout and thoroughly deserved their win which was even better than the 10-20 winning margin suggests as a converted consolation try for the home team near the end flattered them a little.

Not all was perfect as both side’s goal-kickers struggled with the wind and uneven surface but fly-half Rhys Ricketts more than made up for the points squandered with some superb tackling of strong running Caldicot individuals, an example which some of his colleagues could well emulate.

The pack gave as good as they got against a stronger front row than they have been used to of late, rounded off by a sterling display by all three of their back row players who all individually carried and foraged well.

Flanker Dave Morgan’s return to near normal fitness brought strong runs which made big dents in the Caldicot defences and No 8 Mike Griffiths’ ripping of the ball to obtain turnovers coupled with flanker Ed McCord’s all round mobility andtackling were other key features in the win.

At the first scrum Caldicot were set back on their heels and Monmouth capitalized from the obvious shock generated and spent the early stages in the home team’s 22, but over-eagerness was to bring no points on the board until much later in the half.

Caldicot on the contrary when they found their composure, managed to land a penalty kick to take the lead and Monmouth were fortunate not to go further behind almost immediately to another penalty through a rare act of indiscipline.
A yellow card helped the Monmouth cause and when scrum-half Ludo Thomas broke quickly to the right corner, full back Aaron Price was on hand to take the lead with an overdue try. This stirred the visitors, with Morgan and Griffiths combining well to bring play deep into the Caldicot half from the re-start.

Caldicot were defending desperately now and when they pulled down a maul illegally, Monmouth called a scrum for the resultant penalty and when they had driven their opponents back over the line Griffiths was delighted to add the second try for a half-time lead of 3-10.

More of the same with more resolute tackling was likely to ensure overall success, but initially it was Caldicot who started the stronger and when Monmouth on the defensive failed to release the tackler they were lucky in seeing a relatively easy penalty kick strike the post.

Monmouth began to rebuild their ascendancy but were rebuffed several times by good clearance kicks or deep counter attacks by Caldicot defenders, that is until Monmouth drove over the line and stalwart 2nd row Will Copley was unlucky not to be awarded the try by an unsighted referee.

From the scrum the visitors made ground and won the ruck but when they spread the ball wide on the right they were once again thwarted by an eager home team defence but not for long as new wing Rob Farr ran 40 yards or so and, from the recycled ball at the ruck, wing Matt King was able to score on the right.

A further new face appeared in the back row and substitute George Shirlaw showed his potential with a strong run forward from which the ball was again recycled, with Griffiths linking wit a well timed pass for Farr to earn a deserved score to give Monmouth a 3-20 lead.

Nearing the end of a fast and furious game, Monmouth were perhaps now guilty of a little complacency as Caldicot finally rallied and exploited a fairly obvious gap to score a consolation try near the posts which with the conversion narrowed the gap to 10-20 just before the final whistle.

A job well done celebrated by a sharing of the ‘bubbly’ won by Ed McCord as ‘Player of the Month’ which some say in fun is more than he does with his tries on the field. Well done Ed and well done all on a super win!

Ynysddu visit the Sports Ground for a league game sponsored by Precision Engineering next week when Monmouth will hope to repeat their cup win of earlier in the season.

Tries: A.Price, M.Griffiths, M.King, R.Farr

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