1XV v Hafodrynys (Away) 04 May 2013

13-16 Loss

Dogged Monmouth Performance Earns Bonus Point

Through injuries and non-availability Monmouth took a much changed side to Hafodyrynys last Saturday but as it turned out, as usual, the replacement players rose admirably to the challenge and came away with a losing bonus point on the back of a very determined performance.

Monmouth were first to threaten with a lively attack led by full back Jordan Howells but his kick ahead was too strong on the bumpy pitch and went dead.

Having made the territorial gain the visitors kept the pressure on enabling fly-half Rhys Ricketts to open the scoring from a penalty kick into the gusting wind complicated by the nearness of some houses behind the posts.

The hosts were rattled by this and were soon playing in the Monmouth half creating sufficient pressure to gain three points of their own when a visiting tackler failed to roll away.

Hafodyrynys tails were up and less than ten minutes into the game their left wing left the covering defence stranded to score their first try but too far out to convert.

The home team pack were now showing their strength in the loose and after a penalty kick into the corner, from the 5m line-out things looked precarious as their maul threatened the line but Monmouth held out until the attack was spread left along the line an attempted interception created the overlap necessary for Hafodyrynys to open a 13-3 lead.

Monmouth were unfazed by this setback and Howells and then 2nd Row Jonno Sparey made big inroads into opposition territory, gaining a penalty for offside as players scrambled back in defence. Ricketts the younger was again on hand to add the points.

Monmouth's reconstituted back row and scrum half Dan White were scavenging well and Sparey was invariably up in support so it was no surprise with such enterprise, with just five minutes to the change-over to see Howells charging down the right wing with would be tacklers bouncing off this strong youngster. Ricketts' kick from the right touch-line was immaculately converted to draw the score at 13-13 but the home team bounced straight back with another penalty for not releasing the tackler.

Minutes to go and Monmouth attacked hard, gaining themselves a penalty and the home team a lecture for persistent killing of the ball. The kick would normally have been easy for Ricketts but at the last moment the wind took over to cause the kick to rebound from the right upright.

A frantic last minute of the half ensued with two near misses including a charge down near the line which went into touch but 16-13 it remained at the break.

The home team was disenchanted by what they saw as underperformance on their part and fierce it was certainly going to be as they set about playing down their favourite slope.

Their strong running three-quarters made numerous incursions but Monmouth retaliated with long kicks out of defence and some convincing tackling.

The Monmouth pack struggled some more in the second half pushing up hill but even won a strike against the head only to kick it back through as they came under pressure from the drive against them. They coped with the attempts at driving mauls but most of all they contained the pacey incursions they faced into their midst. Most impressive was the way they matched Hafodyrynys in the loose as the old heads led by example determined to move behind no further. Rhys Ricketts though needs no leading as he puts himself about as an example to all and once again was the stand-out player in all respects

And so it ended. Despite much action on both sides there were no further scores. Hafodyrynys may have won but the moral victory was Monmouth's. The 'oldies' had played their hearts out and the newcomers stepped up to the plate, earning their spurs in the process.

Two more games to play with Blaina visiting the Sports Ground for a 7p.m. kick off tonight (Wednesday) and finally away to New Tredegar on Saturday to round off a reasonable season, marred only by the dislocation brought by the need to rearrange so many games.

Let's hope it all ends with a bang.

Tries: J.Fowells
Conv: R.Ricketts
Pen: R.Ricketts

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