Druids v Cwmbran (Away) 01 May 2013

38-36 Win

Close finish for the Druids

An away, mid week fixture at Cwmbran RFC was the latest game for Monmouth Druids. In the corresponding match last season, both teams shared 48 points after the Druids led 24-0 at half time. A slope on the pitch proved to be a telling factor and the visitors lost the toss and were asked to play down the incline in the first half. They would have preferred to play up the slope in the first period so their thoughts would be to get a winning lead before half time.

It was evident from the kick off that the Druids had a big edge at the lineout where Andy Howells and Jack Howells ruled the roost over Cwmbran. Both teams were awarded penalty goals in the first quarter of an hour but the Druids through Captain Dave Brace kicked his goal to give the visitors a 3-0 lead. He repeated the treatment with another successful kick to double the Druids lead.

The Druids extended their lead with a fine opportunist try. Outside half Rhys Ricketts kicked high out of defence. The ball was caught by the Cwmbran full back but his intended relieving kick was charged down by Centre Greg Wilding, who gathered the ball and sped over the home try line. The conversion failed.

The Monmouth side was on top now and they went further ahead following the awarding of a penalty close to the Cwmbran line, Number Eight Nick Phillips shrugged off tackles to cross for an unconverted try and a 16-0 lead. A set back was the awarding of a harsh Red Card to a Druids player for an illegal tackle. Just before the half time whistle Dave Brace boosted their lead with another try. A relieving kick by Cwmbran was caught cleanly by Wing Nathan Cocker, who drew his opposite winger and fed Brace who raced over the home try line. Although the try was not converted a 21 point lead was the minimum that the Druids were anticipating at the break.

From the restart, the Druids launched an attack on the Cwmbran line. In desperation, Cwmbran tackled a Monmouth player without possession of the ball and the referee awarded the Druids a penalty try which Brace converted to give a 28-0 lead.

Then a Cwmbran fight back using the slope of the pitch to their advantage. They scored three tries quite quickly to bring the scoreline to 28-19 in the visitors favour. To make matters even more difficult for the Druids they had three yellow cards against them by the referee.

The Druids were stunned and in an attack deep in the Cwmbran half, Rhys Ricketts evaded tacklers to touch down near the posts. He duly converted to move the score to 35-19 in their favour.

Cwmbran were not finished and mainly through their left wing Jordan Peake scored three more tries to take the lead by a single point, 36-35. Staring defeat in the face the Monmouth side dug deep and looked to retrieve the situation. With the final whistle looming, a Cwmbran player was penalised at a lineout and up stepped Rhys Ricketts to take the kick. He stroked the ball between the posts to give the Druids a victory by 38-36.

What a game, what a victory in a match that the Druids almost let slip away. They rediscovered their composure in a memorable match. To a man they faced up and won a fine victory they deserved. All were real hero’s but Rhys Ricketts, Nick Phillips and Rob Erskine deserve praise.

Tries: G.Wilding, N.Phillips, Penalty, D.Brace, R.Ricketts
Conv: D.Brace, R.Ricketts
Pen: D.Brace (2), R.Ricketts

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