Druids v Forgeside (Ivor Jones Cup) (Away) 16 May 2012

16-25 Loss

Brace efforts not quite enough

Centre and Captain Dave Brace led Monmouth Druids in the Ivor Jones Cup Final against Blaenavon Forge Side. A usefully sized crowd at Pontypool United RFC welcomed the sides. As a lady said to the writer, the Druids were wearing a ‘very fetching pink on their jerseys’.

The Druids play in the first half was very disappointing, littered with mistakes, poor line out throw ins, knock- ons, forward passes and above all kicking out of hand. Forge Side had the better of the scrums and the Druids struggled to get some continuity into their play.

Forge side took the lead through a penalty goal by their outside half-a lead they deserved. In fact they could have doubled this lead but the Number 10 missed with another penalty attempt. However the Druids did draw level with Forge Side when Dave Brace kicked a 40 metre penalty goal. He even gave the Druids the lead, this time with a much shorter effort.

The referees whistle brought an end to a very disappointing first period especially for the Druids.

The second half started better for the Druids when first Full Back Huw Adams made a strong break deep into the Forge Side half and then dead eye kicker Dave Brace kicked another penalty goal and gave the Druids a 9-3 lead. Forge Side responded quite quickly this time with the first try of the game. A scrum five metres from the Druids line was the starting point of the play. The Number 8 picked up and forced his way over the Druids line for a try which was not improved.

Tom Cratchley the Druids Scrum Half made a run from his 10 metre line up to the Forge Side 22 metre line. Desperate Forge Side defence stopped the break but gave the Druids a lift. From broken play the Druids launched an attack and Dave Brace again was the key player. From 20 metres he used his pace and weaved his way past defenders to touch down behind the posts. He duly added the conversion to increase the lead to 16-8.

The Druids missed two very kickable penalty goals as they failed to increase their lead. Forge side responded when one of their Centres made a break up field. He was eventually stopped but Forge Side reduced their arrears when the Number 10 kicked a penalty goal to make the score 16-11 in favour of the Druids.

From a defensive scrum the Druids won their ball but the relieving kick was charged down by the Forge Side Number 7 who dived on the loose ball for a try which was converted and gave Forge Side an 18-16 lead.

They increased the lead still further when from an overlap a back row forward touched down which again was converted to give Forge Side a 25-16 lead and victory. A win they deserved especially from a 16-8 deficit. Their numbers 7 and 10 were very influential, coupled with the weak Druids scrum and numerous mistakes made all the difference.

For the Druids, Captain Dave Brace seemed to be the sole threat and Flanker Scot Mcgowan foraged effectively.

The end of a very good season then, their play in this final is no reflection of their league form.

Tries: D.Brace
Conv: D.Brace
Pen: D.Brace (3)

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