1XV v Cwmbran (home) 03 Jan 2015

30-31 Loss

Last Kick Seals Win For Cwmbran

Monmouth started well when Cwmbran visited last Saturday showing an early dominance in the scrums including a strike against the head. Using the slope and greasy conditions to their advantage Monmouth were able to pin the visitors in their half with probing kicks and winning rucks. Line-out throwing was the only weakness apparent at this stage allowing Cwmbran opportunities to relive pressure upon them.

Not so in the scrums where tight head Hunter gave his opponent a very uncomfortable day out and gaining some penalty chances, albeit failed ones for the most part although one was extremely close by centre Roberts from half-way.

The first score was the first of two charge downs by fly-half Jordan as Monmouth displayed impressive line speed to put their opponents under great defensive pressure balanced out by a difficult penalty kick from touch by both sides.

Upon reflection for all their Monmouth’s first half territorial advantage Cwmbran did well to have their line breached only the once.
With only a five point lead at the break, Monmouth seemed destined to have an uphill struggle to keep in the lead but they eventually did, almost, right until the very end, rallied perhaps by the silent tribute paid to former school-master and club member, John Phillips who had sadly passed away over the holiday period after a long illness.

With the slope against them and the way in which the Cwmbran pack leader had instilled a greater of vigour in his forwards as half time had approached, Monmouth suffered an early setback when flanker Gleed was harshly yellow-carded of the most controlled and gentle tip-tackle yet seen on a rugby field. But it was extra costly in that Cwmbran narrowed the gap to 8-6 with the advantage of an extra pair of hands for 10 minutes.

Monmouth however kept Cwmbran under pressure and Jordan once again charged down a clearing kick for his second try which again failed conversion as the kick was forced too hard and went awry.

Despite being kept deep in their own half by adroit kicks, Monmouth advanced still further when left wing Skipp ran a full 70 yards evading the grasp of opponents as he advanced along the touch-line. But it was more than good enough because scrum half White, as ever up in support, was pulled back whilst about to score. The resultant penalty try evened the playing numbers and stretched the home team’s lead to 20-6 but Cwmbran are not third in the League to not know how to play to their strengths.

The ball was hoofed deep into Monmouth’s right corner and from there Monmouth struggled to defend the maul. 20-11.

Following a failed dropped kick attempt Monmouth responded with a long range penalty near miss but Cwmbran came powering back and despite a last ditch tackle over the line, they were able to creep nearer at 20-18 and still with a whole quarter to go!

Howells made good ground from a set=piece move, finding Skipp to make good ground on his left. White was again on hand to take the inside pass and put Monmouth into a 27-18 lead but with Cwmbran seeming to be gaining the ascendancy. Repeated tackling was inevitably bringing on fatigue and Cwmbran burst through again to narrow the scores to 27-25.

Monmouth tried a long distance penalty for the tackler not releasing which had the distance but was sliced right and then in mid-field a Monmouth player fell accidentally offside and Cwmbran crept into the lead 27-28.

With up to ten further minutes to play Monmouth sterlingly defended their own line and through the boot and elusive running of Skipp were even able to put Cwmbran on the back foot forcing a line-out of their own but when the maul was dropped, this time the referee felt it to be accidental – oh, the wily ways of forwards!

But keeping up the pressure, Howell dropped a goal to sneak into a 30-28 lead as the game went into overtime and predictably Cwmbran forced their way down-filed again aided by a dropped catch.

Hearts were in mouths as the minutes ticked away, but an attempt to protect the smallest player on the field from the unwanted attentions of a Cwmbran forward as frustrations showed, led to a needless punch thrown, a red card for the same player, and a penalty which Cwmbran gladly accepted to clinch a compelling and incident full match 30-31.

Greatly improved, if still error prone, Monmouth should be able to gain confidence from this performance for their journey away to New Tredegar this coming Saturday, the 10th.

Tries: J.Howells (2), penalty, D.White
Conv: A.Roberts (2)
Pen: A.Roberts
Drop Goal: J.Howells

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