1XV v Blaina (Away) 15 Sep 2012

27-12 Win

Four Try Win

Last Saturday, Monmouth visited Blaina who they have not met for many years and were pleased to return with a bonus point to accompany their 4 try win.
Admittedly Blaina have yet to gel this season, but their mix of youth and old heads ensured the contest was a fierce one resulting in 15 minutes of stoppage time being played overall.

The game was therefore ‘stop-start’; most unsatisfying for spectators whilst preventing both sides from developing any rhythm. In fairness the match official can only referee play as he sees it but it was probably no coincidence either that on this occasion he was ‘wired up’ to an assessor.

I took only ten minutes for wing Adam Roberts to find goal-kicking range with a penalty kick following a spear tackle but it did little for temperaments and following a forward fracas soon after both teams were reduced to 13 apiece in an attempt to let tempers cool.

Several missed penalties were the only incidents of note until fly half Ludo Thomas fielded a kick in the 27th minute; ran 30 yards weaving between defenders; kicked ahead and followed up to ground the ball just before the dead ball line but in the strong wind the kick went astray.

Blaina quickly retaliated but their kicks were wayward at this stage too.
No 8 Ed Wheeler drove deep into Home territory but was stopped just short and then scrum half Gareth Morgan cleverly chip-kicked on the left flank and just as a Blaina defender tried to mark it, wing Jordan Howells all but took the ball out of his arms to crash over for a cheeky but well worked try. The kick was again missed as were several penalties before Monmouth turned round after a 51 minute half, 13 unanswered points ahead.

Urged not to rise to the bait in the second half and concentrateinstead on fixing possession to work set piece moves, Monmouth found to their cost a more spirited and coordinated Blaina facing them.

The penalty count rose against them and with the wind, Blaina’s goal kicking accuracy improved, but when the score had crept back to 9-13 with the visitors struggling for good ball to play with, it suddenly dawned on Monmouth that the game was in danger of slipping away as the fourth quarter commenced.

The Thomas brothers however came to the rescue when a nippy break by Ludo took them up-field where he was well supported and 2nd Row Milo completed the move. Roberts was on target with the kick which stretched the lead to 9-20 with 6 minutes of normal time to play.

Blaina strove hard to come back but Monmouth were defending well and although their play was nowhere near as cohesive as it can be, luckily individuals were firing well and making good ground with ball in hand.

Wheeler then showed his strength and pace tearing holes in the Blaina defence to score a fine individual try. Roberts was again on target and at 9-27 with the bonus point and the game in the bag, one could forgive them for falling foul of the referee’s persistent whistle one more time for the match to end 12-27 after a further 5 minutes of overtime.

Next Saturday brings the first home game of the season when Hafodyrynys, last year’s key opponents, are the visitors to the Sports Ground. Kick off is 2.30 p.m. for what promises a more open and entertaining game.

Tries: L.Thomas, J.Howells, M.Thomas, E.Wheeler
Conv: A.Roberts(2)
Pen: A.Roberts

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