1XV v Chepstow (Away) 01 Mar 2014

14-20 Loss

A Real Game of Two Halves

Travelling supporters slow to finish their pre-match drinks missed the first score by Monmouth as centre Dewi Lane was up to contest a poor back pass to dribble over the line for a try in the very first minute. Right wing Matt Tabb hit the upright with the relatively easy conversion but could be forgiven for it was his following up a kick that pressurised his opposite number into the poor pass to no-one in particular.

With their tails up Monmouth then left Chepstow reeling for much of the first half with good driving play from their forwards but a host of missed opportunities as players tried to force passes to find gaps in the often desperate but resolute by the home team.

Time and time again scrums had to be re-set with penalties granted for numerous misdemeanours but the Chepstow line held. Fly half Andrew Davies missed a drop-kick at goal as Monmouth were given the advantage for a scrum and Tabb again hit the same upright with another penalty attempt.

Gradually the score rose in Monmouth’s favour thanks to Tabb’s kicking initially for two penalties for killing the ball in the ruck which brought a lecture for both captains when the offences seemed to be more one sided and a distinct defensive ploy, proven one might suggest in that Chepstow had taken nearly a quarter of an hour to get over the halfway line and then a further 15 minutes to enter their visitors’ 22m. area and that playing down the slope..

Virtual domination but only one fortuitous try to show for their efforts plus three penalties for a 0-14 lead in that time and then concentration began to suffer following a second lengthy precautionary delay for an eventual no-serious injury.

Chepstow had re-gathered their wind and senses and from a long penalty to the right hand corner drove for the line and having been repelled once went over for their first try to narrow the difference to 5-14 on what should have been half-time but for the ten minutes or so of injury time still to be played.

Play was more evenly contested now with both sides playing with vigour so much so that the referee had to yellow card a Chepstow forward on the stroke of half-time for stamping.

One man down, surprisingly it was Chepstow who were more obviously raring to go scoring an unconverted try within 2 minutes of the re-start thanks to some half-hearted tackling. The pressure was sustained and soon Monmouth, too, were a man down in the sin-bin for dragging down a maul and almost immediately Chepstow benefitted from hard running at the half=hearted defence. With the conversion of their next try they had now moved ahead to 17-14.

Monmouth at last rallied and through a succession of rucks made 65 metres downhill only to have the ball turned over at a crucial moment. Luck was not on their side either as a penalty awarded for impeding someone without the ball sailed wide.

Play settled with both sides probing hard until a Monmouth forward was judged to have illegally tackled with his shoulder resulting in yet another yellow card and another lengthy stoppage for injury to the offender.

Chepstow seized their opportunity and pressurised the Monmouth line repeatedly but were rebuffed until eventually when Chepstow kicked a further penalty for a tackler failing to roll away.

20-14 and Monmouth threw all they had into the fray with full back Huw Adams prominent with his counter-attacks.

Late in the game Adams made ground again breaking a few tackles on the way to feed left wing Sam Skipp who takes some stopping but this time the touch-line saved Chepstow’s bacon.

Time was running out for Monmouth who had squandered their first half superiority. A penalty award in front of the posts was now no use and there was no time for a further line-out so play headed for the corner but Chepstow were not to be outdone and celebrated wildly as they combined to force the attack over the right touch-line.

A losing bonus point award is better than nothing but scant reward for such a dominant first half. Lessons hopefully will be learned in time for the trip away next Saturday to Abercarn.

Tries: D.lane
Pen: M.Tab (3)

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