1XV v Girlings (home) 25 Oct 2014

29-10 Win

Monmouth Progress In Cup

In the most unusual of circumstances Monmouth progressed to the third round of the Swalec Bowl by beating Girling RFC 29-10 at home last Saturday (25th).
To the credit of the visitors, they turned up despite being three men short and Monmouth, wanting to play rather than claim a walkover loaned them three players and a substitute who were later to play their hearts out for their new found team-mates.

Assuming the disruption would affect the team facing them, Monmouth were quickly set back on their heels when they failed to gather the kick-off cleanly allowing Girling to first move the ball across to the right and then when blocked, reversed things, went left and scored the first try of the game. Unfortunately they had not brought a kicker so the conversion went awry.

Girling, however, were not fazed and it took a penalty on Monmouth’s 22m line to relieve the pressure exerted by the vigorous play of the visitors and the speed with which they broke away when given the chance.

Having gathered their composure Monmouth began to put moves of their own together typified best in the early stages by full back Matt King side-stepping 3 would be tacklers to ship the ball to back row player Mike Griffiths who made great ground with a typical charging run.

And from such another run from 15m out a quarter of an hour in he was to score his first try which Tabb failed to improve.

Apathy or pace of the game was having an impact on the home performance as the larger of the home pack were strung out across the field as play moved away from them but fortunately King was enjoying the gaps and took Monmouth into the lead 10-5 with a try of his own.

Both sides then charged into one another but with little shape but great regularity and the match official became more involved as he tried to ensure some order amongst the chaos. Monmouth was gradually rising above the scrambling but the visiting side and their new recruits were determined not to give in too easily, frustrating what purposeful moves Monmouth were able to assemble. For a slight wiry lad Mobbs Morgan withstood many a fierce clattering and Pete Saran was whole-hearted in virtually everything he tried.

The Girling line was neared several times during this spell only for the attacks to be thwarted and a Monmouth move on the left led to nothing when the ball was kicked dead on one occasion. But as the half-time break neared, from a ruck deep in Girling territory, the ball was moved left and with an overlap available to run in a further score play was called back for a forward pass. Griffiths had already had words with the referee and when he questioned this he was sent from the field for the statutory ten minutes.

Lungs filled and legs rested the second half set off at a pace and the ball was spun across the line to right wing Connors to speed his way to a score which extended the lead to 15-5 following which the newly rested Griffiths again used his strength to break through a tackle to score in the 49th minute near enough for the kick to count.

Girling responded by making their presence felt until Monmouth ran from their own 22m and Connors called for the ball. White who was now playing scrum-half heard the call and threw a long pass from which Connors made a good 40 metres cutting inside before the play fizzled out.

Play was now breaking up as the continuing pace found out tiring legs but this is when experience shows and centre Andrew Davies cleverly wrong-footed the defence and fed the ball back inside to White who rode a tackle to score.

The referee featured again when Connors questionably tackled someone and was yellow-carded for his troubles, although perhaps in recognition of the harshness of his decision the recalcitrant tackler served a 5 minute dismissal only.

Girling were still in the fight and it was a credit to the spirit of their patched up side that they were next to score a consolation try leaving Davies and King to probe away for another of their own but 29-10 it was to stay.

Not a classic by any means but good that the game went ahead when it could so easily have been called off. As they say, ’the game is the thing’ and at least Monmouth can progress to the next round knowing they did the right thing. There are not likely to be the same complications when Oakdale are the visitors for a league game on the Sports Ground this coming Saturday.

Tries: M.Giffiths (2), M.King, C.Connors, D.White
Conv: M.Tab(2)

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