U11 v Monmouth Tournament (Home) 07 Oct 2012

The early morning mist took a while to burn-off but when the sun appeared, a sizzling feast of rugby was served up by the six teams competing in the U11s age-group at Monmouth’s 5th annual Young Rugby Tournament. The Bears would end the day playing five 10-minute extremely tough, close and competitive games against high quality opponents, winning two, drawing one and losing two. With a full squad available for the first time this season, the boys played out of their skins and proved to be tough to beat – the two games they lost were both by a single try and in both, from the last play of the game.

MATCH 1: vs. St Josephs
Familiar and greatly improved opponents from Newport were first-up for the Bears – both teams took some time to get into their stride and it soon became a battle of attrition. Chances were few for both teams with good defence limiting opportunities. It took a stroke of luck for the Bears to land the winning punch late-on – a loose ball on the St Josephs’ line was pounced upon by a combination of Henry Watkins and Ieuan Rose, with Ieuan dabbing down to score the only try of the game. FINAL SCORE: Monmouth 5 – 0 St Josephs

MATCH 2: vs. Abergavenny
Local rivals were next up and with Abergavenny lacking two players, Raphael Kefalas and Will Green donned opponents’ shirts to help out – well done lads. Thankfully, they didn’t have an opportunity to score against their team-mates, as the Bears controlled the game from the start. Despite their dominance, it took some time for the boys to break through – Ben Pilot opened the scoring, with further tries following from speedy Josh Lewis and big Will Ruck. So, two games played, two wins on the board – surely now in the shake-up for tournament honours….? FINAL SCORE: Monmouth 15 – 0 Abergavenny

MATCH 3: vs. Cwmbran
The boys in black and white from Cwmbran had also won their first two games, playing some great rugby along the way, so this match would prove vital if either side were to continue to compete for the trophy. It was nip-and-tuck, although Cwmbran did have the greater share of both territory and possession – the Bears kept them out however until the final minute through some fine defensive work, a highlight of which was surely the tackle of the day from Alastair McIntosh, the impact of which would see him play no further part in the day’s proceedings. The final play of the day would see a desperate attempted clearance kick from the Bears fall short, only to be snaffled-up for Cwmbran to touch-down in the corner, right on the final whistle. FINAL SCORE: Monmouth 0 – Cwmbran 5

The Bears’ next opponents were the big physical boys from Newport, who themselves were playing well and involved in some extremely close encounters within the pool. Once again a close game ensued – no matter how hard both teams tried to spread the ball out wide, fine defence from all ensured any scoring chances were quickly extinguished. The Bears seemed to have the upper hand but late on, NHSOB found themselves gaining territory. The game looked destined to remain scoreless until at the death, a stray looping pass was intercepted by the visitors, for their player to have a clear run to the line to gleefully touch-down, to break Bears’ hearts once again. FINAL SCORE: Monmouth 0 – 5 NHSOB

MATCH 5: vs. Gwernyfed
And so to the final game of the day against the Bears’ bogey team, the big boys in green from Gwernyfed, returning to defend their title, but who themselves had found the going tough, by already losing one game and drawing another. The Bears set about them with great aplomb, taking control and putting their opponents on the back foot. Time and again, the Bears got the ball out wide, only for last-ditch tackling to snuff-out any chances. The Bears won all the physical battles, with the whole game virtually played in Gwernyfed’s own half of the pitch. Whilst the game finished scoreless, the Bears enjoyed a great moral victory, being much the better team against traditionally strong opponents. A great game, despite the lack of tries! FINAL SCORE: Monmouth 0 – 0 Gwernyfed

Competitive as ever, the Bears were more than a match for anyone in this closely contested tournament, conceding only two tries in their five games. A bit of luck here and there and things could have been so different, but the tournament honours deservedly went to Cwmbran, who won all their five matches. Josh Lewis, tenacious in attack and defence, received the Player of the Week award. Well done Bears, you should be so proud of your efforts!

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