1XV v Ynysddu (Away) 27 Apr 2013

11-30 Loss

Winning Streak Ends

Ynysddu 30 – Monmouth 11

With three good wins behind them and league security assured it is perhaps not surprising that Monmouth have lost their edge and went down 30-11 away at Ynysddu last Saturday. But that analysis perhaps overlooks the eagerness for promotion displayed by the home team and is unfair on certain individuals who still played their hearts out. In fact the turning point was probably when No 8 Mike Griffiths damaged his knee late in the first half and his perseverance and vigour was lost to the team.

Fine dry, if deceptively blustery, conditions suggested a running game but the Council had conspired to limit matters by taking down the posts on the main pitch resulting in a half mile hike to an alternative and much narrower pitch. This could have inhibited the Ynysddu attack in their pursuit of promotion but their strong runners instead punched holes in a rather lacklustre mid-field defence to score five tries to one by the end.

Play from the start was frenetic and Monmouth were doing well to hold their own in the first quarter, with a strong break by centre Dewi Lane half promising a solo effort score until he cut back inside away from any support. Monmouth dived into the ruck off their feet and the clearing penalty kick saw them back in their 22m area. Ynysddu pressurised from the line-out and when an attacker was not released in the tackle a successful kick at goal opened the score.

Ynysddu were a very vociferous bunch and had soon found themselves on the wrong side of the referee even to the extent that whilst appealing for a penalty decision that the referee was just about to award, so much so that he reversed the decision which Rhys Ricketts converted to even the scores.

Monmouth's kicks out of defence were ballooning up in the gusting wind and the Ynysddu backs were delighted at the opportunity to run the ball back although on occasions individuals chopped them down in their tracks.

Eventually they cracked however in the 23rd minute and Ynysddu crept ahead to 10-3 but flanker George Shirlow responded with a good run of his own and although tackled Ricketts was on hand to punish someone for going off his feet with three points to narrow the gap.

Tit for tat, the home team next put together a sustained series of bursts and despite a last ditch tackle by reliable full-back Anthony Layne, an outstretched arm gained a further try but the kick was woefully missed.

Just before half-time, it was Monmouth's turn with an off-side decision in their favour but Ricketts' kick was just narrowly wide of the left upright. 15-9 would have been preferred but given that both the scrums and lines-out were going well, provided the first up tackling and support play improved there was no reason the nine point deficit could not be overtaken.

Ynysddu it was who showed the greatest enthusiasm with a driving maul and a succession of rucks bringing a try for one of their prop forwards and with only two minutes of the second half gone.

It was still give and take but it was a more open move by Ynysddu which saw the ball spread leftward along the line for their wing to score a good try. Monmouth were still giving of their best but kicks ahead instead of keeping the ball in hand hindered them as the ball went dead on occasions and deep return kicks by Ynysddu often had Monmouth scampering back to defend their line, failing to do so only once with the hosts crossing the line for the fifth time.

But Monmouth, whilst down, were certainly not out,and after a series of attacks which were repeatedly rebuffed,scrum half Andrew Davies, when halted near the line, popped the ball out backwards into the arms of the charging 2nd Row Sam Harding who was unstoppable in gaining Monmouth's only try of the game and 30-11 as the final score.

Three more games to go yet so spirits need to be raised to ensure an acceptable end to the season and hopefully a flying start to the next, so roll on Hafodyrynys away next Saturday with Blaina the visitors to the Sports Ground on Wednesday May 8th.

Tries: S.Harding
Pen: R.Ricketts (2)

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