1XV v New Tredegar (away) 10 Jan 2015

24-5 Win

Monmouth Win At Last

Monmouth elected to play into a fiercely gusting wind and their hosts, New Tredegar, immediately used it to their advantage, kicking first deep into the left corner and then forcing their way bother the line only for the try to be disallowed as it was grounded on a defender’s boot.

The pressure compounded by several penalty kicks against the visiting front row for not scrummaging straight when often this can result from the opposing prop choosing an inward path to avoid the strain was rebuffed with interest by some fine clearing kicks from fly-half Howells. The referee’s persistence with such decisions were perhaps counter-balanced in his mind by the frequent crooked scrum feeds he freely ignored. One wonders what his assessor on the day thought?

The visiting defence held firmly until the 16th minute when a high cross kick was followed up at speed and although full back Connors took it well his failure to release the ball when tackled resulted in a quick penalty which caught Monmouth dreaming and five points behind.

The game settled into a pattern of attacking kicks on the wind, deep relieving responses which led to further kicks or counter-attacks in return but then a flash of inspiration almost against the run of play took Monmouth into the lead, when Howells with a succession of dummies and changes of direction ran for a full 45m to score near the posts making the conversion easy for centre Roberts.

Captain Nick Phillips claimed the high ball from the kick off in the very next action for flanker Griffiths to take the ball on in his usual robust way for Howells to again to be involved. When play was halted at an attacking ruck for a head injury the unobservant felt cheated until they realised the referee was playing advantage for a kickable penalty again by Roberts.

Monmouth maintained the pressure and following a concerted attack were thwarted by a foot barely in touch which was spotted by the eagle-eyed touch-judge.

A charged down kick near the home line flew into another pair of grateful New Tredegar hands and play was forced to the other end but Monmouth dug in and play petered out mid-way as the whistle blew for the break.

5-10 should have been a good score with a semi-gale still blowing but as the sun dropped behind the hill so did some of the wind and with it an expected advantage. Unexpectedly Monmouth were having to run the ball out of defence but when they did it was clear they intended to maintain a wall whenever they could on the half way line to prevent incursions.

New Tredegar became more frustrated and scrum-half felt the weight of several late-ish tackles but he is nothing if not plucky.

The sometimes over eager right wing ran away from support and into potential trouble but he redeemed himself completely when at pace he ran a full solo 40 metres through the centre of the home defence to take Monmouth, with Roberts’ conversion, into a 5-17 lead.

New Tredegar rallied causing White to drop bravely on the ball in his 22m as play moved up-field. Wing Tabb played scrum-half at the ensuing ruck putting a fine relieving kick some 65m into touch.

The game was breaking up and the home pack and particularly a rampaging second row drove often and hard into the Monmouth half and still with 20 minutes to play.

Monmouth were equally keen to attack and when New Tredegar were forced to wildly hack a ball towards touch near their goal-line, the mis-kick went sideways into the dead ball area and the chasing wing Lane was adjudged to have been held back in the act of scoring.

The penalty try brought the score to 5-24 and fired up New Tredegar all the more and in a succession of attacks for not allowing a quick penalty to be run 10 metres, Monmouth lost a player to the sin-bin for his early tackle but frustrations showed through and for trying to tell the referee his job, luckily for Monmouth the penalty was reversed and their line was again cleared.

The final six minutes were hectic but the visiting pack and their re-jigged front row dug in. Howells was caught behind his goal-line but the final scrum was defended stoutly and the large band of travelling supporters gave a rousing cheer as the final whistle sounded.

Machen are the visitors for both the 1st and 2nd XVs this Saturday (17th) at the earlier time of 2pm.

Tries: J.Howells, ???, penalty try
Conv: A.Roberts (3)
Pen: A.Roberts

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