1XV v Cilfynydd (Home) 06 Apr 2013

6-30 Loss

Outplayed in Defeat

Having played so well last week and with several missing players returning, hopes were reasonably high that the visitors to the Sports Ground, Cilfynydd, might be restrained if not beaten.

On the dry firm pitch in bright sunlight fast open play was to be expected and so it proved in a game that was to be full of thrills and spills but it was the visitors who overall were the more organised and determined as the game eventually wore on.

Initially Monmouth gave as good as they got and from an early defensive Cilfnydd transgression fly half Rhys Ricketts put them three points ahead inside five minutes with a well taken kick at goal.

The visitors were fired by this but Monmouth dug in as play swung to their end. Despite intense pressure they held on well apart from a converted penalty against them for not releasing fifteen minutes in for not releasing a player when tackled.

Cilfynydd had very strong runners and a scrum-half who was adept at picking out supporting runners with his long passes and they could well have scored but for a bone crunching tackle from full back Anthony Layne, obviously on fine form despite his recent stag weekend.

The strength of Monmouth's scrum helped but Cilfynydd showed how wheeling the scrum could limit its effectiveness which the referee did not seem to mind.

He did however do Monmouth a favour when a kick through hitting the bottom of the post wrong-footed Layne and although the fumbled ball was grounded fairly by a player following up, it was disallowed because the referee's view was obscured. And on another occasion dissent by a visiting player cost them 30 yards for continuing to argue.

Back row man Sam Harding was on hand making a 40 yard break-out at one point and tempers grew with the ferocity of it all as each side strove to take the lead.

Monmouth managed to pin their opponents in the left hand corner and when the ball was kicked ineffectively from behind the line there was a general scramble spoiled only by a speculative and wild Monmouth pass which eventually allowed Cilfynydd to get out of jail.

The immense efforts of both sides counterbalanced each other and three points each it remained until half-time with some re-thinking to be done. Monmouth to determine how they could continue to neutralise the attacking power of their opponents and they to capitalise upon their apparent greater firepower. Less handling errors would certainly be of benefit to both sides.

But what a start to the second half!

No-one claimed the kick off resulting in a knock on deep in the right hand corner. Play continued there and out of the blue, lack of concentration following a subsequent scrum saw the first try of the game which was surprisingly not converted given its nearness to the posts.

Keenness to redress the setback led to a tackle of someone still in the air but playing of advantage saw the danger fizzle out and soon when a Monmouth attack came to an end in the other 22, Ricketts was again on the mark with a penalty.

Play swung again to the other end and despite the visiting loose head's girth (and pace) he was held up over the line prior to a passage of play when penalties and desperate tackles by both sides seemed to predominate.

Spared by a missed penalty kick at goal, Monmouth began to crack as Cilfynydd threw the ball wider allowing them to expose gaps in the defensive line helped by missed tackles on some of their very strongest runners, and in no time at all the difference had grown to 6-23 with two more tries, a conversion and a penalty.

With ten minutes remaining, Monmouth dug deep and it was a shame that right at the end, in fact with the 'last play' having been called, Monmouth tried to play themselves out of trouble rather than end the game by a simple kick to touch and lo and behold, Cilfynydd snatched a bonus point try to end, justified 6–30 winners. A nice boost for them as they head for their Swalec Bowl semi-final next week.

For Monmouth there is little scope for wound-licking as they face Cwmbran, again at home, with a score to settle given their defeat away last Autumn.

Pen: R.Ricketts (2)

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