1XV v Hafodyrynys (Home) 07 Sep 2013

14-6 Win

Winning Start to the League

Good pre-season preparations without defeat in their trial games had Monmouth raring to go against Hafodyrynys RFC last Saturday but as expected the visitors proved to be no pushover.

In fact within the first minutes, they were 0-3 down from a 40 metre penalty aided by the strong down field wind on an otherwise flawless day for running rugby.

Full back Rhys Ricketts, newly returned from a fishing expedition, had a chance to even things up with a kick for the home team but it fell just short.

The referee was on the spot again to penalise Monmouth for holding on after the tackle and the 38 metres from mid-field was no problem for the Hafodyrynys goal-kicker, but now 6 points behind Rickets had another opportunity and narrowed the goal with a kick of his own for an offside offence.

Play was fast and furious and when the visitors tried to rile a Monmouth player they achieved their objective with the first, and only, fracas of the game but fortunately out of sight of the referee who was following play as one would hope.

Hafodyrynys were defending well and kicking with the wind deep into Monmouth territory with the result that despite their scrummaging being superior, Monmouth struggled to maintain any shape or gain much ground in response until Rhys Ricketts ran the ball back after 30 minutes had gone by and then things began to click.

Vigorous play by the Monmouth pack put pressure on the visitors who faltered and gave away a penalty which Ricketts gladly converted to level the scores 6-6 at half-time which was a credit to Monmouth’s commitment given the wind and the slope and hopefully with good things to come in the second half.

Both sides raised their game with centre Jake Meredith the first to shine but the visitors’ defence was still holding good.. Ricketts was next to star with a tremendous tackle on a Hafod three-quarter who but for this could well have gone all the way.

Monmouth’s three-quarters were now more confident and aggressive but hurried handling was still letting them down.

Replacement scrum-half Ludo Thomas’ quickness off the mark was starting to prove a problem for the visitors and from such a break the recycled ball was taken on strongly by No 8 Mike Griffiths whose attempted chip kick ahead went into touch. A crooked throw into the line-out brought a scrum and a penalty offence together with a yellow card for a visiting forward.

A further scrum saw the ball spun wide on the left but with the line beckoning and players spare a knock-on halted play yet again.

Monmouth forwards were now battering away at their reduced opposition but the resilient Hafod showed their delight when they managed to turn the ball over at the break-down.

Scrums galore there were and it was sad to see that the educative attention the referee was paying to the new laws seemed to exclude that of now being required to put in the ball straight and sad indeed that despite his efforts he was still having to lecture both front rows as to what he expected of them with only ten minutes of ordinary time left to play.

Monmouth tried to walk over another scrum but when halted quick hands to right wing Anthony Layne saw him dab the ball down just inside the corner flag. Ricketts failed only just with the difficult conversion but Monmouth now led 11-6 almost on full time.

Hafodyrynys knew the chips were down and pushed back towards the Monmouth line but in their eagerness they came into a ruck from the side and Ricketts was able to complete the scoring with an excellent penalty from some 50 metres out. A couple more minutes of injury time saw a near miss at another penalty but flanker was up to pressurise the catcher into knocking on and bringing the hard fought game to an end.

Cwmbran are the opposition away next week which is likely to be as much of a challenge as this vigorous if rather error ridden game. Fitness and eagerness was good but some further practice will no doubt help give it some necessary cohesion.

Tries: A.Layne
Pen: R.Ricketts (3)

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