1XV v Chepstow (away) 20 Dec 2014

3-34 Loss

Chepstow Spirit Wins The Day

The sheer determination of Chepstow aided by a noticeable lack of spirit from the bulk of the Monmouth pack had all but ensured victory for the home team by half-time.

In the opening minutes after mid-field penalties both ways for holding onto the ball after tackles, Chepstow found a long touch and from the line-out drove the resultant maul for their first 5 points leaving the Monmouth pack looking bemused.

They recovered somewhat through good driving play of their own by their back row but the cumbersome passing of the ball along the three-quarter line allowed Chepstow to close threats down.

But Monmouth had its chances. First centre Roberts was unlucky with a kick at goal which dipped below the bar and then wing Tabb and Roberts were away down the slope to the left but an attempted grubber kick gave possession away when a try looked a distinct possibility.

Chepstow’s pack came back to the fore with yet another long distance driving maul which when it fragmented left three men to drive the one remaining defender over the line to take the score to 10-0.

Monmouth’s luck continued to desert them as the drop-out was handled first by Chepstow but play was called back to the centre spot for it having failed to travel the requisite 10 metres. A later scrum was lost against the head and Roberts was again to fail with a kick at goal.

With 10 minutes to play before the break, Monmouth were again unable to effectively defend a maul from 22 metres out and the ruck which followed it. This time the try was near the posts making the conversion easy and despite a break of some 50 metres by full back Connors, all Monmouth could save from a poor half was three points by Roberts for Chepstow holding on to the ball to prevent a turn-over.

17-3 was going to be quite a hill to climb especially given the way some of the younger forwards were struggling to compete and with the slope against them, but captain and No. 8 Phillips continued to lead from the front only to find himself in the ‘sin-bin’ for diving on what he thought was a loose ball but the referee saw it differently.

For Nick to be as angry as he was did rather suggest that he may have been hard done by especially as the regular killing of the ball when necessary by Chepstow appeared to go relatively unpunished.

Chepstow upped the anti and soon were the beneficiaries of a penalty try as they drove a collapsing scrum towards the line.

Defensive kicks from Monmouth played into the home team’s hands as first up tackles were missed with some regularity but Monmouth clawed their way back into Chepstow’s 22m area only to be turned over and find themselves back in their own 22.

The final straw came with a badly missed tackle in mid-field which allowed a Chepstow back to make an arcing run to score untouched and under the posts.

The final score of 31-3 will have done little for the team’s morale prior to the key derby of the year against Usk on Boxing Day but a win is a must for the 1st XV as they seem to be losing their way, helped perhaps by lack of attention to pre-match discipline, but then I suppose it is Christmas and everyone was young once.

Tomorrow’s traditional game (tomorrow) is too important in the historical rivalry of the two clubs for anything less than everyone giving a full 100% on the day. Winners and losers can embark upon Yuletide revelries then!

Pen:

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