1XV v Abercarn (home) 19 Sep 2015

8-30 Loss

Still some way to go for Monmouth

With the crowd reduced perhaps by competing televised World Cup matches or even one of the nicest Summer days of the year before Autumn really takes a hold, Monmouth last Saturday entertained hitherto high-scoring Abercarn who were already riding high in the League.

Talk on the touch line was of them having a strong pack but beatable behind but it was soon apparent that whilst both packs were comparable Abercarn had some highly penetrative three-quarters against whom the home team's defence often creaked.

Playing first down the Chippenham slope, Abercarn were soon deep in Monmouth's left hand corner by virtue off a penalty kick to touch, the first of many in a whistle punctuated game,

Having protected their line successfully on this occasion patterns became apparent with fly half, White making good ground but ignoring his centres outside him. The resultant penalty opened the scoring for Abercarn and their fine goal-kicker.

Abercarn were making the most of the running at this stage and it took a good box kick from scrum half Pryce to return Monmouth to their opponents' half not long before a further penalty kick to touch from which Abercarn in a set piece move set their winger off down the touch–line. He beat five players with a jinking run before slipping just short of the line.

It was not going to be Monmouth's day though because when fielding a long kick and clearing their line with interest the referee was bullied by the visiting supporters into judging that the ball had been taken back into the 22. What his assessor on the day made of that along with his love of his whistle would have been interesting to hear afterwards.

Pressured continued through offsides and driving mauls and the score crept upwards before Tabb neatly converted a penalty for a 3-11 difference. With Abercarn's backs the more penetrative it was disappointing that wing Roberts was then yellow carded for being too quick out of the blocks to regain a high kick ahead.

With one of Monmouth's better backs of the day off the field and by this time a further penalty down the half-time break was time for Monmouth to re-group.

Monmouth were first to rise after the re-start when carrier-in-chief, No. 8 Phillips, almost capitalised on a smart line-out take by captain Harding with a good drive for the line and with the supporting prop Tom Green up to complete the score.

Abercarn retaliated immediately with a deep kick into the Monmouth 22 where the home team had to tackle fiercely after an attempted kick to safety was charged down followed by a relieving penalty kick after a ruck infringement.

Captain Sam Harding was continuing to win front line-out throws and some stirring runs by him seemed to rally some of his less fit and passive scrum mates and a few good charges down-field were the result. This rally led to Monmouth's best period of play but to no avail in terms of scoring.

The scrum continued to cause the referee difficulties as the front rows repeatedly came up under pressure and penalties and a talking to unfortunately did little to improve this aspect of the game.

A further penalty was taken by Abercarn and despite some vigorous play in mauls by 2nd row Boxall the visitors crept even further ahead with a dropped goal which seemed to encourage them even more, taking advantage of the opposition's tiring legs and flagging spirits to score out wide as a prop took his tackler over the line. The conversion from a difficult angle and a late penalty in front of the sticks brought the final whistle and an 8-30 loss.

There had been many individual strengths and courage on display but it is back to the training field to coach in the cohesion Monmouth still require.

Next Saturday not only brings England versus Wales but first Monmouth travel to Blaenavon to take on Forgeside in the 1st round of the Swalec Bowl competition.

Tries: T.Green
Pen: M.Tabb

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