1XV v Ynysddu (Home) 26 Oct 2013

14-38 Loss

Cup Hopes Crushed

First the good news: The threatened rain last Saturday stayed away long enough to prevent a soaking similar to the previous week for spectators and players alike and Monmouth no longer have to worry about the distractions a Cup run can bring for another year after a caning by visitors Ynysddu .

The heavier and rampaging visiting forwards kept the local team on the back foot for much of the game and their strong running and better organised three-quarter counterparts ensured a superior 5:1 try count by the end. All this was helped by Monmouth’s rash of handling errors as they tried to force play and some woefully high and weak tackling as Ynysddu charged through the centre or down the flanks.

There were good passages of play by the home team particularly in the second half as they tried to regain lost ground but with 15 minutes to go as impetus was beginning to build a yellow card earned by fly-half Ricketts whilst trying to dispense some home-made justice for a dirty play transgression proved expensive indeed as Ynysddu sealed their victory with 13 unanswered points during his absence in the ‘sin-bin’.

Play did not start as planned with first a poor catch from the kick-off and after only five minutes a poor high tackle saw Ynysddu gain 30 metres, win the ruck when halted and crossed on the right for the first try of the game. Five points down and worse still - Monmouth’s first substitution for injury as flanker Josh Gray exited the field with a dislocated finger.

Monmouth retaliated with some good forward drives of their own and when hooker Phillips was high tackled Ricketts disappointingly missed the penalty kick highlighting perhaps the gusty nature of the wind and the boggy nature of the reserve pitch on Chippenham due to a clash with football fixtures.

Monmouth’s woes continued with yet another finger injury – this time to wing-man Dewi Lane and then when the ball went loose at the back of a scrum Ynysddu shot away for a converted try and a 12 point lead.

Monmouth responded by gaining a good position on the right but the line-out was lost, as they were to continue to be, and the pressure lost.

Ricketts was his usual Rottweiller self in halting the next Ynysddu attack with a fierce tackle and again featured by kicking two penalties to narrow the gap to 6-12 inside the half hour.

In response Ynysddu aided by even more high tackling forced their way into Monmouth’s 22m area. Failure to release on the tackle brought a further three points. Three scores on three visits!

Scrum-half Morgan sparked and broke on his own only to see his pass to a supporting player moved on in a clumsy way which saw a potential try go begging.

The half ended on a low note as first full back Matt King had to leave the field with a hamstring tear and Ricketts was again off the mark with a penalty chance. But the second half would soon bring playing down the slope with a nine point deficit to redress.

Monmouth set off with vigour and despite an immediate penalty decision against them following a marginally early tackle in the air were able to benefit from a penalty of their own following a scrum.

Ynysddu were not giving way easily scoring first a penalty of their own and then when Roberts now playing at full back kicked long and deep to reverse the pressure, Ynysddu set their stall out with a move over some 65metres for a try in the left corner aided again by some woeful tackling.
An excellent conversion stretched the gap to 9-25.

Monmouth were inflamed by this and led by a charge by Phillips, which partly redeemed him for some poor line-out throwing, a penalty resulted which Morgan took quickly catching the visitors on the hop. Quick hands and good supporting play from Phillips (again) and No.8 Griffiths gave 2nd Row Chris Davies a score in the left corner and a 14-25 score.

But back to their old ways Monmouth allowed the re-start to go unclaimed although they soon regained their composure and won a series of rucks even if they were gaining little ground due to Ynysddu’s strong defence. From another penalty, Morgan was quickly out of the blocks again but a knock-on by a team-mate saw the attack fizzle founder.

And then capitulation time arrived with the yellow card incident which Ynysddu took full advantage of again aided by poor tackling from the opposition producing two final unconverted tries on opposite sides of the field.

14-38 down, it was at least reassuring to see Monmouth still trying but their day was summed up by a final attack into the left corner involving substitute wing Ollie Gray finding Griffiths with a reverse pass, a penalty and a yellow card for the visiting full back. Ricketts back in the fray found Griffiths supporting but with the line beckoning the ball was knocked on.

In general some bursts of very good individual endeavour on display but the execution of much was poor, compounded largely by an over-eagerness and poor tackling rather than tactical astuteness and cooler heads.

Next week brings perhaps an even bigger challenge at home in the form of a rejuvenated Nantyglo. The hatches will need to be hurriedly battened down if Monmouth is to reverse the current slide.

Tries: C.Davies
Pen: R.Ricketts (3)

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