1XV v Pontllanfraith (Home) 12 May 2012

37-3 Win

A Triumphant Week

In their journey towards the League Championship, Monmouth RFC had first to meet Bettws in a further re-arranged mid-week game, which they won handsomely on another rainy evening by 30 points to 5, despite the inclusion of guest players from other clubs to bolster their opponents.

Scrum half Gareth Morgan had a significant hand in all three tries, scoring one himself with others from Mike Griffiths and Andrew Davies. Fly half Ricketts used the wind well to control the game, adding 15 points with the boot, but it was the forwards who dogged away through set pieces, rucks and mauls, to ensure more than their share of ball for quite exquisite ball handling at times from all quarters if the team.

The scene was thus set for a massive finale on Saturday (May 12) in their final game against Pontllanffraith.

These opponents, too, came reinforced with permit players and apparent guests if the myriad of differing socks being worn was anything to go by, and so it showed in the very competitive game that transpired on Chippenham Mead due to a clash with cricket.
The initial signs were good with No 8 Griffiths bursting through although the supporting player crucially delayed his pass and Ricketts the Younger soon put Monmouth on the board with a couple of well struck penalties. The game remained fiercely competitive though and the visitors clawed one back from an offside decision to keep up the pressure although Monmouth appeared to be the more constructive whilst Ponllanffraith were cleverly exploiting mistakes with speedy counter-attacks.
With ten minutes of the first half to play, Griffiths made one of his customary charges down the middle to find centre Layne in support who when he seemed to be running out of options found the ever supporting flanker McCord at his side who forced his way through tackles to score near the posts.

13-3 was a fair reflection of the game up to the break, so with all to play for and with the words of encouragement from their Coaches ringing in their ears Monmouth set about a second half which would determine their league fortunes.

Still as tense as ever, Ricketts first missed a penalty and soon after Pontllanffraith almost went one better but a kick of their own hit the post.

Confidence was growing as the visitors started to change players tiring in the sun and despite a yellow card for a deliberate knock on in defence. A major attack on the right spear-headed again by Morgan should have brought a try but the move became over-complicated allowing Pontllanfraith to cleare their lines but the pressure on them continued and cracks began to appear as they lost the first of two players to the sin-bin for ‘spoiling’ offences.

Scrum-half Morgan enjoys situations such as this. With quick thinking he took a quick penalty moving play near to their line and from the resultant maul and then scrum he went over on the right. Ricketts added a crisp conversion from far out to take the score to 23-3.

Ricketts widened the gap further with another penalty after another yellow card offence for handling in a ruck and then in the final minutes of the game from yet another quick penalty, Morgan, who later received the accolade of ‘Player of the Month’, moved the ball on through the hands of Ricketts for Dewi Lane to score a try which Ricketts again converted.

As Monmothians breathed a sigh of contentment at a just result, an injury time move saw substitute Matt Tabb elude many clutching hands to bring the final score, once converted, to 37-3 which caused the large crowd and Match Sponsors Paul Jarrold Tyres to explode with delight.

The formal award of the SWALEC League Championship was made by Ken Hewitt the WRU Vice Chairman amidst much sprayed champagne and the celebrations continued late into the night with the aid of Ty Gwyn Cider, kindly donated for the occasion.
This very successful season will be deservedly further recognized at a Dinner Dance on 2 June when the Guest Speaker will be Scott Quinnell. Tickets can be obtained through Andrew Lewis.

Tries: E.McCord, D.Lane, G.Morgan, M.Tabb
Conv: R.Ricketts (4
Pen R.Ricketts (3)

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