Druids v Caerleon (home) 19 Dec 2015

19-18 Win

Last gasp drama for Druids

On a ‘glue pot’ of a pitch on Chippenham Mead, Monmouth Druids entertained Caerleon in a league match. With a strong wind at their backs, Caerleon were looking to make full use of this advantage, whilst the Druids were seeking ways of limiting the wind benefit.
In fact the home side opened the scoring following a fine break by the Druids Number 10 Rhys Evans. He beat his opposite number with a neat side step and raced 40 metres to touch down between the visitors posts. Full Back Kris Gordon duly converted to move the Druids ahead 7-0.

Druids Number 9 Dan White threatened the Caerleon defence but his run was eventually held. The home side missed a penalty goal before Caerleon got on the scoreboard. From a scrum in the home 22 metre area, the ball was moved on the blind side. Good support play saw the Druids defence breached as a Caerleon attacker crossed near the corner flag for an unconverted try.

Just before the interval the Druids stretched their lead with a well taken try by wing Kes Mobbs-Morgan. From broken play he gained possession on the edge of the Caerleon 22 metre area. His pace took him clear of the visitors tacklers and he dived over the Caerleon try line to make the score 12-5 in favour of the Druids.

They should have stretched this lead further but a home player lost possession in the act of crossing the try line.

At half time the Druids would have reflected on a successful half playing into the elements.The Caerleon pack were well organised but behind the scrum they appeared less of a threat.

Early in the second period the visitors forwards set up a try to reduce their deficit. A clean line out catch was skilfully set up into a rolling maul. The Druids pack could not stop the drive and a Caerleon player crashed over for an unconverted try to reduce the home lead to 12-10.

Then possibly the best try of the match. It started from a scrum on the half way line. Druids Number Nine 9 substitute Morgan Jeffs fed flanker Dan Ansty who choosing a fine line, broke through the visitors defence without a hand being placed on him. He crossed between the Caerleon posts for Kris Gordon to improve to give a 19-10 scoreline. So the Druids with a two score lead would have thought was sufficient to earn a win.

Caerleon had other ideas and they kicked a penalty goal awarded against the Druids by a fussy referee. The visitors pack were proving difficult to resist and again set up a rolling maul from a line out in the final minute of the match. It finished, as earlier in the game with a forward being awarded a try to bring the score to 19-18 in favour of the Druids. The result depended on the conversion from the touch line-a difficult kick into the wind. As the spectators sunk slowly into the mud the kick swung wide.Both teams will have reflected on the game and probably in hindsight will have used the elements to better effect.

Despite the conditions it was an interesting game with both sides looking to give the ball ‘some air’. The match had many more handling mistakes but was eventful. The corresponding match last year resulted in 2 point deficit so what about 2016-17? Dan Ansty had an outstanding match but playing conditions was crucial.

Tries: R.Evans, K. Mobbs-Morgan, D.Anstey
Conv: K.Gordon (2)

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