1XV v Oakdale (Away) 03 Nov 2012

10-7 Win

Monmouth Win Away at Oakdale

Much to the disappointment of the local supporters, Monmouth won 7-10 last Saturday at Oakdale in a closely fought game. After some recent league game reversals the euphoria generated was immense and hopefully will do wonders for morale.

The match had been subject to a pitch inspection in the morning but the afternoon hail, thunder and lightning on top of an already boggy pitch made for very cold hands, a slippery ball and many wrong-footed missed tackles.

Monmouth were the most enthusiastic at the start and Oakdale found themselves largely pinned down the slope in their own half for the first ten minutes or so.

Probing kicks to the corners by fly-half Jordan Howells were the main tool in keeping them there but Oakdale had a doughty defence aided by a relaxed view by the referee of the off-side line.

Given this, keeping the ball in hand may have proved more rewarding than the sole recompense of a penalty goal by full back Adam Roberts at the end of this period.

Three points although small, gave Monmouth something to cling on to as Oakdale worked hard by fair means and some off the ball antics to find themselves in Monmouth’s 22 after the first quarter had passed.

Eventually the Monmouth line was breached on the right but thankfully the scorer was called back as the recipient of a forward pass.

Monmouth responded well with a deep break by centre Dewi Lane which scrum half Gareth Morgan took on only to be heavily tackled into touch which resulted in what looked like a serious shoulder injury. A penalty kick was awarded but Howells’ accuracy was awry.

Playing positions were re-configured with Andrew Davies moving into the half-back position and Josh Gray coming on to the right wing.

Whether this caused some slippage of concentration or not Oakdale put up a high kick into the right corner which was missed and in the chaos that followed, including a missed tackle and the ball running loose, Oakdale went ahead with the first try of the game. The kick from a greasy patch far out was cleverly converted for a score at the turn around of 7-3.

Given that the score had been rather against the run of play gave Monmouth some encouragement and although they would now be playing ‘uphill’, provided they concentrated on tightening up their play, the reduction of mistakes should see them win through.

And so it transpired: the Monmouth pack increased their dominance in the set pieces and the pressure they applied in the rucks and mauls with No 8 Mike Griffiths setting an excellent example on his long awaited return from injury kept Oakdale on the back foot and increasingly prone to try to slow down the game. The inevitable outcome, although it was a long time coming, was a yellow card for Oakdale’s influential No. 8.

Penalties were now taken as scrums for Monmouth to drive towards the line and eventually they cracked conceding a penalty try. With the kick and a 7-10 lead Monmouth were going to have pull out all the stops with 24 minutes still to play but the fresh legs and the depth of experience brought on helped ensure they were able to ‘dog it out’.

The remainder of the game was to have its incidents as a player on each side was first yellow-carded for an altercation but most of all as Oakdale put in a final surge, due to a misunderstanding in the Monmouth ranks, a kick to the left corner fell just short but was promptly kicked into touch believing the earlier action to be the ‘last play’. Unfortunately it had not been, and arguing the point gave Oakdale a last minute eminently kickable penalty for dissent….. which fortuitously was badly missed leaving the loyal travelling supporters justification if any were needed for celebration along with the players.

Tries: Penalty
Conv: J.Howells
Pen: A.Roberts

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