1XV v Rogerstone (Away) 05 Jan 2013

19-15 Win

A Close Run Thing for Monmouth

The much awaited, thrice postponed, Swalec Bowl game at Rogerstone finally took place last Saturday, resulting in a last gasp win by a bare four points for Monmouth.

The previously unplayable pitch turned out to be slightly soft and thus tricky for the goal-kickers but the weather was an encouraging foretaste of Spring and the possibility of some open rugby.

Being a Cup game, competition was fierce throughout, but in the early stages Monmouth were looking as if their superior league status would win through. Missing an early kick-able penalty gave the home team some relief and then the opening score and a lead of 7-0 came when the Monmouth backs tried to run the ball out of defence chip kicking straight to the opposition who were grateful for the gift try and conversion.

Monmouth’s stronger pack were keeping them in touch with strong drives and turn-overs for much of the first half but the referee at times seemed at times to be more concerned with pernickety points rather than a flowing game.

Rogerstone went a further three points ahead shortly before half-time with a penalty gained at a ruck and it was just as well that having promised much, Monmouth at last strung a three-quarter move together following a line-out where the visitors more than held their own for full-back Adam Roberts to cut in and score just on half-time. Fly-half Rhys Ricketts narrowed the deficit to 10-7.

Given the class of the try before half-time hopes were high for Monmouth’s strength to begin to dominate but this did not allow for the determination of Rogerstone and their fly-half in particular who had a storming game.

Just minutes into the half a yellow card for the home team brought a penalty which sadly was missed and despite some promising bursts from scrum-half Gareth Morgan, Rogerstone held out during the next ten minutes.

Play continued as competitively as ever but Monmouth at long last went ahead in the 59th minute following a late tackle on Roberts. The scrum where his kick had landed brought a move which led to a ruck and continued along the backs to centre Andrew Davies,whose sheer strength took him through his tacklers just far enough for him to dab down the ball on the line before he was dragged back into play. Ricketts was not going to miss from 15 yards to the left of the posts and to the relief of the visiting supporters Monmouth took a 10-14 lead.

Battle continued and in the confusion as Roberts was down and in need of stitches, Rogerstone played up the right touch-line concluding with a drive over in the right corner to move again into a 15-14 lead with 11 minutes of normal time left.

Nails were beginning to be chewed amongst those watching and tensions increased when Rogerstone were awarded a kickable penalty which they missed.

Fortunately there turned out to be 6 minutes of extra time played, perhaps not for Roberts, but it gave time for Monmouth to batter away and from a quite exquisite move along the line to the right substitute wing Matt King had the pleasure of breaking Rogerstone hearts when he completed a move through several pairs of hands to cut inside the final tackler to score the winning try.

A long wait for the game and now some back-logged league fixtures but Machen at home will be the next big test on Saturday the 12th.

Tries: A.Roberts, A.Davies, M.King
Conv: R.Ricketts (2)

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