U11 v Gwernyfed (Away) 09 Dec 2012

35-25 Win

After a two week enforced break from competitive action, due to water-logged and frost-bound pitches, Monmouth U11s faced the annual long trek up the mountains to take on fierce rivals Gwernyfed, who to date have proved to be the Bears’ bogey team. With a full squad at their disposal, would the Bears finally get the better of the big boys in green? Read on…..

As ever Gwernyfed started strongly, spreading the ball out wide at every opportunity and it was they who opened the scoring very early on, after creating an overlap to easily touch-down in the corner. An almost carbon-copy saw the hosts effortlessly double their lead - suddenly the Bears were staring at a heavy defeat, being 10 – 0 down after only a few minutes. At last the Bears finally woke up and finally got into the game by going on the attack. Numerous incursions into Gwernyfed territory were made and some hope was restored when Roderick Ho reduced the arrears with a fine try. Monmouth were now more dominant, but they were frustrated however when Jonny Snell was held-up over the line and Will Ruck went beyond the dead-ball line when trying to touch down.

It didn’t take long before Monmouth drew level despite the earlier frustrations, with Will Ruck bursting through strongly to score a deserved try. A real sense of belief began surging through the Monmouth boys and the game settled into a tense nip-and-tuck affair, with full-blooded tackling and rucking from both sides. Back came the hosts to edge ahead before hard-working Ieuan Rose drew the Bears level again with a fine elusive run. It was the hosts who nudged ahead once more before Jonny responded to level affairs matters, this time comfortably managing to ground the ball. By now the Bears were putting their bodies on the line with some heroic defence, typified by Brian Rowlands being forced off after receiving a bang to ribs. On the stroke of half-time, the Bears took the lead for the first time in the game – spreading the ball out to the right, winger Roderick showed great hands by scooping up a pass from right on his toes and just managed to regain his balance to crash over the line for his second try of the day – Monmouth reached the break 25 – 20 ahead.

The break seemed to benefit Monmouth – they came out of the blocks strongly, constantly driving the hosts back, forcing errors and creating panic. Ben Pilot reacted quickly when tackling an opponent close to their try line, scooping up the loose ball to crash over the line unopposed, thus putting the Bears two tries ahead. Gwernyfed responded to reduce the arrears for their only try of the half and they were comfortably kept at bay for the rest of the game by fine defence from the Bears. In the backs, Raphael Kefalas, Alastair McIntosh and Will Green continued to make incursions whilst also defending strongly. Up front, Henry Watkins led the way, ably assisted by Cameron Ogilvie, James Robertson, Flynn Ruddiforth, together with new boys Zu McDermot and James Cook who were playing out of position. The Bears scored the last try of the game to restore their two try lead, with left wing Josh Lewis finally finding a gap out wide to dive over in the corner.

The final whistle saw the Bears and their loyal travelling band of supporters, at last able to celebrate victory over their greatest rivals, finally slaying the green beast of Gwernyfed! The spirit shown by the boys was immense, never letting their heads go down, especially after going two tries down so early on in the game. Amongst all the jubilation, the coaches had to make a difficult decision regarding the Player of the Week Award, with so many in the shake-up for trophy polishing duties this week. Full back Jonny Snell was presented with the accolade for his fine attacking and defensive display – well done to Jonny and well done Monmouth Bears – “WHO ARE WE?!!”

Final Score: Gwernyfed 25 – 35 Monmouth

Ties: Roderick Ho (2), Josh Lewis, Ben Pilot, Jonny Snell, Will Ruck & Ieuan Rose

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