1XV v New Tredegar (Away) 11 May 2013

13-29 Loss

As ever Monmouth faced its last game of the season with some significant players injured but it was they who fired first last Saturday at New Tredegar. It took the home team a good 20 minutes to find their feet as Monmouth kept them under intense pressure despite playing into a strong gusting wind. During this period fly half Adam Roberts drilled two penalties firmly over the bar and right wing Jake Meredith all but scored bar a foot on the touch-line following an impressive break by scrum half Dan White.

This seemed to set the alarms ringing in the home camp and but for some keen tackling by Monmouth the gap would have narrowed sooner than the next significant event.
Monmouth who were prone to kick away possession, fell pray to a counter
attack which saw the ball moved the length of the field culminating in a line-out and a maul they could not contain.

At 5-6 it was game on and Monmouth responded in a timely manner when White again cut through feeding the supporting full back Anthony Layne who in turn used Meredith as a foil on his right to cut back inside for an unopposed try near the posts. Roberts added the extra points for a 5 -13 score at the break and this into the wind!

Having been spurred to greater effort by the Coach and cautioned as to New Tredegar's ability to bounce back as shown in the home fixture less than three weeks previously a winning end to the season was a real possibility. With the strong following wind they needed to angle their kicks to prevent them going dead.

And what happened? - The self destruct button was pressed within minutes. After conceding the first of four second half tries without return and missing a penalty lick of their own, the die was cast as New Tredegar mounted attack after attack and Monmouth's willingness to tackle particularly amongst the backs declined.

Some slight flurries of resistance were apparent but poor kicking out of hand served Monmouth badly as the boys from the valleys relished the opportunity to run the ball back at every opportunity.

But worse was to come: first hooker Dean Bartlett was yellow-carded after tackling an opponent and then a penalty kick held up the wind and fell just short of the bar and whilst defenders ball-watched a New Tredegar player pounced on the bouncing ball amazed at the ease with which he was able to score.

With an easy kick in front of the posts and now a lead of 4 points the spirits of the team rose with 20 minutes still to play helped by a decreasing ability to stem the strong runs by the speedier of the New Tredegar backs and the determination of their forwards.

Not everyone gave up. Griffiths was as rugged as ever if lacking a little in match fitness following his time out for injury; (potentially?) retiring veteran prop Stockley wreaked havoc in the set piece; centre Davies made a few determined breaks; the back five forwards led by the example set by captain Will Copley struggled manfully to contain their marauding opponents and White tried almost too hard; but despite all this, two good further tries were to come without reply for a final score of 13 - 29.

Seventh out of twelve in the league is no disgrace upon their first year back in Division 4 East with 11 wins out of 22 games played. The closeness of some losing results and the way in which some younger players have grown in stature gives encouragement for the future but now a tour to the sunshine and a Presentation Dinner Dance are on the cards. If only they had kept thoughts of these on hold for 40 minutes longer when they might have done their coaches and themselves more obvious justice.

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