1XV v New Tredegar (Home) 05 Apr 2014

35-34 Win

Monmouth Win At Last

With their usual vigorous start and the added benefit of a tail wind, Monmouth were quick to put visitors New Tredegar under pressure and within four minutes wing Matt Tabb had put them six points ahead from centre of the field penalties.
Almost immediately centre Andrew Davies had turned the screw again with a sharp break but his lobbed pass was intercepted and from a defensive position

New Tredegar broke in return right up-field to be impeded temporarily by the back-tracking Tabb but the visitors support capitalised on the disrupted defence to take the lead 6-7.

The lead was extended to four points with a penalty for offside from 30 metres but Monmouth reacted in the best way possible with a run from near the half-way line by flanker Mike Griffiths and from the ruck that resulted from his cutting in towards the posts the ball was worked out to the right where captain and No.8 Sam Harding athletically dived in at the corner. Tabb converted excellently from the touch-line to re-establish the lead.

With their tails up full-back Huw Adams next broke through juggling the ball as he went. Jake Meredith took the ball on but was stopped on the line.

New Tredegar recovered their ascendancy when a kick out of defence was charged down and despite it being recovered Monmouth shipped bad ball along the line only for a visiting to cut through a gap between two defending forwards to score near the posts. The kick ensured the lead became theirs at 13-17 and all this within the first quarter.

Griffiths again showed his combative running the ball back at his opponents but again he cut back inside ignoring an overlap on his right only on this occasion to have the ball turned over but when it was recovered quick hands and a long pass to Tabb on the left brought another try which he just managed to dab down in the process of being tackled. Again his goal-kick from far out was excellent considering the wind.

In a game marked by its to and fro nature the New Tredegar rejoinder caught Monmouth in possession behind their own line and from the resultant 5m scrum saw one of their players saunter through a gap alongside to again take the lead 20-24 with the relatively easy kick’.

By the half-time whistle the ball had been lost on the line, a further penalty had been awarded and Monmouth gained a yellow card for clearing out an obstruction but apparently in a way that was not to the referee’s liking.

The time to regain breath and take stock seemingly allowed the visitors to retain their focus better because first Monmouth glaringly missed what could have been an expensive tackle and then from defence Monmouth inexplicably kicked aimlessly and high for the visitors to gather and use their overlap on the left to move further ahead to 20-29 and only two minutes into the half.

Monmouth responded well with Lane first gaining much ground from his break and then fellow centre Davies setting up a move which Harding was able to complete near the sticks.

Only two points adrift now and Adams made yet another bullocking run which was halted and arguably should have brought a yellow card for failing to roll away in the tackle which until then the referee had been keen on. Instead 2nd Row Jonno Sparey was next able to dive over taking two defenders with him to take the lead again 32-29. The wind proved too tricky for Tabb this time though.

Flanker Ollie Gray kept Monmouth on the front foot again with a shuddering tackle and a pickup of the ball but soon he was sadly to be side-lined with a knee injury. Not to be out done though Monmouth have good substitutes with first wing Adam Roberts showing willingness and imagination, close to the ground player Stacey Edwards shoring up the front row and then flanker Gareth Morgan taking up where Gray had left off.

Play was frantic now as fly-half Ricketts was late tackled resulting in a yellow card and a penalty kick that hit the post; Davies made another deep break but was halted by an accidentally offside decision and then Tabb was on hand to kick another penalty for a 35-29 lead because of a player trying to slow down play by not rolling away.

The visitors were not yet done with three minutes of ordinary time to play. A deep kick to wing Jake Meredith was run back but when he held on they kicked the penalty for a 5m touch on the left which was tapped back to no-one allowing the visitors to score again but failing to convert brought the score to 35-34.

Five minutes of injury time which included two opportunities to steal the win from kickable penalties that New Tredegar missed had to be endured before local supporters could drift off to relax over a beer whilst their visitors tried to drown their sorrows.

An entertaining game with the lead changing eight times and including nine tries for a bonus point for each team. Caldicot away next Saturday should be equally interesting.

Tries: S.Harding (2), M.Tabb, J.Sparey
Conv: M.Tabb (3)
Pen: M.Tabb (3)

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