1XV v Llanhilleth (home) 06 Dec 2014

11-18 Loss

Monmouth scrape a bonus point in disappointing game

With a large home crowd no doubt encouraged by the sunny weather and a return to live local rugby after 4 weeks of Autumn Internationals, the effect of the layoff was apparent with both sides playing nervously with numerous handling errors in the early stages.

Eagerness there was aplenty but with a rash of penalties as a result, with Rhys Ricketts being first on the score-board on thirteen minutes which in turn was equalled just a minute later with a penalty from 25 metres by the visiting fly half.
It was obvious that the referee intended to police the breakdown rigorously but it also became clear that the respective captains were perplexed by his decisions given the number of times they had to question him. By the end of the game those watching had concluded that he had suffered from a serious attack of whistle-itis given the immense number of penalties awarded.

Llanhilleth went into the lead soon after with a kick 15 metres from in front of the posts and then, worse still, No8 Griffiths was penalised and despatched to the sin-bin although the decision appeared harsh as he was on his feet and released the ball when told to.

The visitors soon pressed home their numerical superiority aided by a recurrence of Monmouth’s habit of missing tackles when Llanhilleth rampaged up the right to score half way out facilitating a relatively easy kick to stretch their lead to 3-13.
With numbers restored Monmouth began building and close on half-time with a potential overlap of three down the right hand side the players were staggered to be called back for a penalty kick at goal. The three points were welcome but seven would have been preferred as the teams changed over at 6-13.

It took 15 minutes for Monmouth to get into a scoring position as they drove at Llanhilleth’s line but vigorous defence aided by repeated offsides which went largely unpunished frustrated progress. When within 7 metres of the line a blatant offside once again snuffed out a probable score but from the penalty Monmouth gained nothing.

After a badly missed penalty soon after, justice was to some extent done when a visiting player was yellow-carded.

And then Monmouth began to let the ball do the work putting flanker Callum Gleed over in the left corner. The kick from a difficult angle was only narrowly missed.
Llanhilleth now seemed to be the more determined and they were helped in this following a series of driving mauls the last of which was badly defended, taking their lead to 11-18.

A kick deep into Llanhilleth territory was run straight back through not just one, but 4 missed tackles and Monmouth remained under pressure for the remainder of the game. When the referee again blew for a penalty to Llanhilleth within easily kickable range a losing bonus point seemed about to be snatched away from Monmouth, but with perhaps the only good fortune of the day the kick missed.
This coming Saturday brings a visit from Blaenavon Forgeside in the Swalec Cup – kickoff 2:30 pm.

Tries: C.Gleed
Pen: R.Ricketts (2)

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