1XV v Oakdale (Home) 22 Feb 2014

23-10 Win

Monmouth front up and beat Oakdale

Having been bullied into defeat earlier in the season at Oakdale, Monmouth’s chance to put things right arrived last Saturday and they ‘fronted up’ from the very start, winning this time, 23-10.

A timid kick off by the visitors failed to travel the requisite ten metres and from the consequential scrum Monmouth drove hard with good inter-passing amongst the pack. When stopped, a failure to release in the tackle gained the first points of the game courtesy of wing Matt Tabb’s excellent boot. It was good to see him back and playing so well.

Playing downhill unusually in the first half, the unpredictable semi cross wind next caused a deep kick by stand-in Spud Davies to go dead, and on his 40th Party day, too! But generally he played well and can even be forgiven the (nearly costly) charge down of a clearing kick later in the game which resulted an easy run-in for Oakdale.

But Oakdale were reeling from the early pressure and having made a good break, if full back Anthony Layne had shifted the ball without delay to the two supporting players on his right a try would have resulted but flanker Mike Griffiths had to cut back in as the defence drifted to save the day.

Still inside 15 minutes Monmouth gained a penalty near the visitors’ line and electing for a scrum, if Oakdale had concentrated on defence instead of trying to initiate a fight they would have prevented No 8 Nick Phillips from scoring. Tabb converted the kick in the tricky wind for a 10-0 lead.

Oakdale settled a little and five minutes later converted a penalty of their own from only 25 metres out and mid-field.

The Monmouth pack were still clearly dominating but skirmishing became more apparent than scoring opportunities for much of the rest of the half, apart from another three points from Tabb.

13-3 was a reasonable score to defend in the greasy and windy conditions but predictably Oakdale came out fired up and Monmouth found itself pinned in their 22 metre area for a short period in the second half. But then the pack got trundling again and from a scrum resulting from a penalty, took Oakdale back yards and yards and when their front row came up to spoil the drive, Tabb was again on target, this time from 35 metres to stretch the gap to 13 points.

From the re-start Monmouth ran the ball back out of defence and suddenly a score looked on as the ever eager, but underused, left wing Skipp formed an overlap only to receive an uncatchable pass above and behind his shoulder.
Tabb had the next chance but this time missed a penalty and all this with 22 minutes of play left.

Oakdale dissent brought a reversal of a penalty and captain and 2nd row Sam Harding left a charge but having gained 25 metres sadly knocked on in contact.
The Davies charged down kick came and suddenly there was a hint of recovery by Oakdale and now a score-line of 16-10 but Monmouth were not going to be outdone even though there was still 14 minutes to play.

A poor pass out, bi-passed the fly half and bouncing, found its way to centre Charlie Ross who took it in his stride but the pace of his break was such that when tackled some 30 metres further on, no-one was up in support but it was at least in the right part of the pitch.

Having been largely kept there, the home pack kept the pressure on and when flanker Ollie Gray forced a defender back over the line, the next scrum was a crippler as Oakdale were driven backwards and over the line for Phillips to again score.

Five minutes left to play but with heads down, despite the substitution of an obviously once classy back row forward, were not sufficient to trouble Monmouth any more and the game ended to local cheers of relief at 23-10 and an International to view in the club-house followed by a 40th party.

All that was needed amongst players and supporters to make the week complete was to be chosen as tomorrow’s (Thursday Lottery) winner.

Chepstow away is the next challenge but for those who can’t make the journey, the Druids are entertaining Garndiffaith on 1 March k.o. 2.30p.m.

Tries: N.Phillips (2)
Conv: M.Tabb (2)
Pen: M.Tabb (3)

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