Druids v Caerleon (home) 13 Sep 2014

21-19 Win

Last gasp Victory

Monmouth Druids faced Caerleon RFC with the knowledge that they conceded two narrow defeats , in last year’s campaign. The venue for this encounter was the Sports Ground in Monmouth on a playing surface that was sound and sure footed.

The Druids had a three or four ex youth players in a squad which contained a couple of players with first team experience. A tough game was expected and as it turned out, a difficult match resulted.
The match began with the visitors having the better of the play but the Druids took the lead through try by Centre Dan Williams. From a scrummage in the Caerleon half, Williams took a pass from outside half Matt Tabb and burst through an attempted Caerleon tackle. He raced on to touch down half way between the posts and the visitors corner flag. Outside Half Matt Tabb converted to give the Druids a 7-0 lead they barely deserved.

Caerleon responed by pinning the Druids back in their 22 metre area. From a line out the visitors set up a rolling maul which finished with a forward diving over the Druids line for an unconverted try.

The Druids hit back with a penalty from Matt Tabb but this was short lived as Caerleon took the lead with a try following pressure on the home try line. This was converted and gave Caerleon a 12- 10 lead.
Just before the interval the Druids regained the lead with a penalty goal kicked by Matt Tabb.

The second half promised a close contest and so it proved. Both sides in turn attacked and tested the opposing defences. It was the Druids who struck the first blow following a move on the blind side. Scrum Half Dan White fed Dan Williams and he found himself unmarked within 30 metres of the Caerleon try line. His pace carried him away from the visitors defence to cross wide out for an unconverted try and a 18-12 lead.

Caerleon established domination at the scrimmage and made it pay with a series of set pieces close to the home try line. Despite valiant Druids defence, the visitors drove over the try line for a try which was converted to give Caerleon a 19-18 lead. At this stage in the game, Caerleon held the upper hand and were camped on the Druids try line. Hard as the visitors tried, the Druids defence held firm.
With the final whistle looming the Druids brought on substitutes and threw everything into attack and this caused Caerleon to defend furiously but not quite within the rules. The referee awarded the Druids a penalty kick some 40 metres from the posts. Matt Tabb stepped up and his kick just sliced away from the sticks.

Druids supporters disappointment was short lived because the home side were awarded another 40 metre penalty which Matt Tabb stepped up to take. Putting any nerves aside he promptly put the kick between the uprights.

With the Druids holding a 21-19 lead the referee blew the final whistle on a fine match which had everything including Yellow Cards for both teams. The team effort by the Druids must be commended as they pulled the game out of the fire. Their running, passing and support play always threatened against a side which put up real resistance with power and organisation.

It is churlish to pick out individuals but some performances stand out. The kicking of Matt Tabb,and the opportunism of Dan Williams is praise worthy. Ex Youth players Harry Miles, James Pardoe and Pete Saran showed tenacity. From the older ranks Tom Cratchley, Anthony Layne, Milo Thomas and Matt "Slim" Ricketts held the team together. In fact, the whole team deserves great credit for the victory.
Can’t wait for the return fixture!

Tries: D.Williams (2)
Conv: M.Tabb
Pen: M.Tabb (3)

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