1XV v New Tredegar (Away) 23 Nov 2013

16-38 Loss

Monmouth Stumble Again

After a poor start to the season and the dislocation of the Autumn internationals, despite some significant absences due to injury, Monmouth set about their task with vigour and some real flashes of flair but not always the necessary vision.

Within the opening moves centre Charlie Ross made an excellent deep break but in ignoring supporting players on his left saw a certain try go begging but fly half Rhys Ricketts soon redressed matters with his first successful penalty of three to open the scoring.

The home team were quite taken aback when Monmouth probed deep into their left corner with centre Andrew Davies turning their defence with a well placed chip kick and after a succession of rucks Ricketts doubled the score despite the sticky surface with another kick.

No. 8 Mike Griffiths was at his best and after making good ground again down the left flank, a few winning phases led the half backs to move the ball right, finding new boy and full back Greg Wilding with a lobed pass which cleared the way for him to glide over untouched. Ricketts converted to stretch the lead to 0-13 just into the game's second quarter.

New Tredegar shook themselves forcibly at this stage and began threatening the Monmouth line. Their speedy backs were involved increasingly and their small but vigorous pack was now making its presence felt all over the field.

Monmouth's defence was losing its shape and the home team took advantage of this by running through it with ease for the next try which was near to the posts and easily converted.

Their tails were now up and with people standing off tackles they had drawn nearer with a try and 12-13 in but a few minutes more.

Monmouth to their credit rallied and when left wing Adam Roberts caught a ball deep on his half, he ran the ball back a good 45 yards before being stopped and his team mates piled into the ensuing ruck. Young though many of the home team are, they lacked nothing in guile but this time in slowing down the ball they gifted Ricketts another penalty which saw the lead increase to 12-16.

Monmouth battered away at the line for the last six minutes of the first half but instead of spreading the ball away from the solid defence in the narrow channels around the rucks, New Tredegar stuck at their task until Monmouth failed to release the ball in a tackle allowing the home team to clear their lines just as the half-time whistle sounded.

The sun had now disappeared with hands getting colder all the while and what seemed to be a declining interest by certain Monmouth players to get down on the ball when it mattered. Greasy and cold it may have been but good old fashioned hacking through was a good tactic which was to profit New Tredegar as the game wore on.

Monmouth's passing became more erratic with little thought for the recipient as the pressure increased upon them and the first of one such wild acts led to an easy try for the more eager valley foragers.

A fracas between two players miles away from play which looked more like a prolonged wriggle on the floor than fisticuffs brought a yellow card apiece for the transgressors.

Back to the rugby, Roberts again made good ground downfield with Monmouth winning a penalty at the break-down but this time Ricketts kicked the ground before the ball and the points went begging.

New Tredegar were now finding things much their own way as they ran the ball around aided by some weak and high defensive tackling. Occasional flashes of rugby brain showed what might have been as Davies for example held a pass up fleetingly in one attack to make space for Griffiths on his right but the pass was forward and went harmlessly into touch. But the right thought was there unlike some other occasions when players allowed themselves to be drifted into touch rather than to come back inside to link with supporting players.

Two more tries for the home team amounted to a basin full aided by yet another failure to first drop on a loose ball and then a missed tackle. Monmouth heads were down as the score reached 38-16 with a bonus point earned in style for the home team.

Another International next week brings a chance to re-group before entertaining Caldicot on 7 December but the challenge will be considerable as they are flying considerably higher than Monmouth could be if they could only click.

Tries: G.Wilding
Conv: R.Ricketts
Pen: R.Ricketts (3)

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