Druids v NHSOB (Home) 02 Mar 2013

29-15 Win

Druids graft out Win

Monmouth Druids welcomed Newport High School Old Boys to Chippenham Mead in a recent Pontypool and Newport league game. Both sides welcomed a fair size crowd in addition to bright sunshine –a very rare commodity in a cold, wet winter.
N.H.S.O.B. had a larger, pack of forwards but the Druids had by far the more settled back division and this proved to be crucial.

An early lead was taken by the Druids when Captain and Centre Dave Brace kicked a 20 metre penalty goal and a 3-0 lead. Play between the sides was fiery and contentious which kept the referee very watchful. The Druids had a forward sent from the field of play for punching and this increased their challenge of a victory. The Old Boys took advantage immediately and scored a try close to the home side posts. The apparently easy conversion failed but gave the visitors a narrow 5-3 lead.

Play became end to end as both sides sought to take control of the game. From broken play, Druids Outside Half Greg Wilding put in a deft kick over the first line N.H.S.O.B. defence. Two Druids players who quickly followed up the kick, won possession from a defender and fed Wilding who was chasing his own kick. The Outside half crossed near the posts and a Dave Brace conversion gave the Druids a 10-5 lead.

This was short lived when the visitors broke the Druids line and left a one on one with the home side fullback.The N.H.S.O.B. player ran powerfully to round the fullback and touch down near the Druids posts. Once again the supposedly easy conversion was missed and the scores were level 10-10.

Just before half time the Druids took the lead when Number Eight Nick Phillips picked up from a 5 yard scrum and dived over the Old Boys line. Brace again converted to give the home side a 17-10 lead.

On the resumption the Druids set up a rolling maul which almost resulted in a try but the visitors just held their line in tact. Not to be denied the Druids backs set up a handling movement close to the half way line. Each Druids player in turn drew their man and gave a short pass to a supporting player. The ball ended up in the hands of diminutive right wing Nathan Cocker who gleefully dived over the Old Boys line. The try was not improved but the score was now 22-10 in favour of the home side.
The Old Boys were not finished and hard running and determination earned them an unconverted try and at 22-15 the game was not over. A Greg Wilding break seemed certain to give the Druids another try but an uncharacteristic handling error caused the move to break down.

The home side did score a fourth try close to the final whistle when Rhys Ricketts took advantage of a wickedly bouncing ball to gather and scorch over for Dave Brace to convert to give the Druids a 29 15 victory.

For the spectators to shelter their eyes from the setting sun was indeed a rare pleasure and this win was very satisfying.

Tries: G.Wilding, N.Phillips, N.Cocker, R.Ricketts
Conv: D.Brace (3)
Pen: D.Brace

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