1XV v Caldicot (Home) 07 Dec 2013

22-20 Win

Deserved Win At Last For Monmouth

Monmouth started this home game against Caldicot last Saturday obviously keen to make amends for their poor performance against New Tredegar.

Everyone seemed up for this game on all fronts but it was Caldicot who gradually displayed a greater cohesion and eagerness with astute deep kicks downfield into the corners keeping Monmouth on the defensive.

A penalty for not releasing in the tackle by an isolated player led to the first score as Caldico’s vigorous forwards drove a maul over the line but fortunately for Monmouth the kick failed as did several others were to before the end.

A counter attack by the home team fizzled out when Gareth Morgan, playing on the right wing this week, popped up on the other side of the field but was then overrun by the other wing who was then penalised for crossing as he tried to recover the position. Caldicot used the penalty to make good ground in return and when held were lucky to be awarded a penalty as their player fell into a tackle which made it seem high and only 20m out in the centre of the field.
0-8 down after 25 minutes and Monmouth fell into their usual routine of trying to run the ball out of defence despite Caldicot being continually up in their faces.

The nippy visiting backs though knew how to pressurise defences and when Monmouth missed a key tackle in the centre it was fly half Ricketts who made amends with a fine tackle on the ball carrier only to see the ball recycled from the ruck and passed out to the left and round under the posts for an easy conversion as defenders looked on.

The pressure on Monmouth was eased slightly as Ricketts comfortably kicked a penalty for not releasing in the tackle with just minutes to go before half-time, and although the home team now piled on the pressure first a knock on from a high attacking kick and then a poor pass behind a flying wingman saw the changeover arrive still with a 12 point deficit (3-15).

But whatever they drank during the interval or whatever was said to them, Monmouth started the second half well. From an early scrum and a loop around move full back Anthony Layne scored with Ricketts converting.

The Monmouth pack was now fired up with Druids Gibson and Phillips standing out and scrum-half Kyle Price linking very effectively. The referee who had warned individuals several times for handling in rucks now stopped play to warn both sides about such transgressions and within five minutes the Caldicot No.8 fell foul and was penalised and sent to the sin-bin for being tempted once too often.

Monmouth immediately took advantage of their extra man with a scrum for the penalty and when the front rows came up they went for a re-set which they trundled forward to achieve a penalty try as Caldicot tried illegally to disrupt its final stages.

The man advantage again benefited them when from a line-out captain Sam Harding took the ball cleanly and from the resulting maul a further try took them to a 22-15 lead.

The game loosened up as both sides strove to score again, sparked even more by substitute Ludo Thomas, whose hand has obviously mended.

Caldicot threw everything at their disposal at Monmouth as a harsh yellow card against flanker Gray improved their odds. They eventually crossed far out on the right but a missed conversion left the visitors at 22-20 and still needing a score. They had a penalty chance but decided to go for touch rather than take the kick but somehow Monmouth kept them out.

A loose ball saw virtually all the backs led by Morgan, who had a very lively second half, break out right down field near to the line. A poor throw-in gave the ball away but when Caldicot eventually dropped a pass the ball was again hacked down-field but eventually too far - and dead.

But it did not matter, Monmouth had achieved an almost unexpected win against one of the league higher-flyers and perhaps this is the fillip they have been waiting for. Only time will tell!

Tries: A.Layne, M.Gibson, penalty
Conv: R.Ricketts
Pen: R.Ricketts

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