1XV v Llanhilleth (home) 14 Nov 2015

31-6 Win

Solid Win by Monmouth

Despite a threat of appalling weather Monmouth's match at the Sportsground last week against Llanhilleth avoided the worst it might have been, with the pitch also holding up pretty well for what proved to be quite a competitive game but with the home team never fronted from the second minute on.

From the kick-off Monmouth caught the visiting defence deep in their half and maintained the pressure enough for hooker Oaten to force his way over for a try that proved difficult to convert in the strong wind.

With Llanhilleth finding it hard to break out of their half, the home team kicked for territory and then switched left from a ruck and could well have scored but for a knock-on late in the move.

From inside their half a penalty kick brought a touch for Monmouth from which captain Harding broke out and covered nearly 50 metres before being dragged down. A penalty resulted which fly-half Parsons slotted from in front of the posts.

The game began to even up and both sides had to clear their lines with relieving kicks, which was not an easy task as the wind gusted unpredictably.

One such penalty kick to touch saw wing Thomas run onto a set piece pass, make an incisive run, followed by a kick ahead which Llanhilleth bravely defended and Thomas attracted a penalty for effectively sliding into a tackle of the man on the ground.

Play continued with the visitors now making better use of the wind and after a high kick deep into the Monmouth left corner, wingman Mobbs-Morgan badly skewed his relieving kick into mid-field but to his credit raced there to ensure the catcher received man and ball.

With half-time approaching, the visitors established a presence in the opposing half and at last gained three points of their own but Monmouth were roused and a good run out of defence by Harding carried on by Thomas led to a mark by Llanhilleth's full back and a kick back to touch.

Monmouth were to respond again and when a move broke down in their backs Oaten took the ball on and when he was grounded, the visitors’ scrum half gave away a penalty which Parsons kicked, only to see Llanhilleth respond similarly for a 11-6 half-time score.

Firmly instructed by their coaches to play the game deep down the slope in the second half, an early kick caught Llanhilleth in their 22 who conceded a penalty which Parsons floated in and over the bar to stretch the lead to 14-6.

Scrum half White next put in a long grubber kick towards the right corner only for 2nd Row Gleed, hassling away as vigorously as ever, to transgress once too often in a maul and receive a yellow card for his trouble.

Despite their reduced number, with the slope and a strengthening wind, Monmouth were able to maintain the pressure on the visitors and when Thomas intercepted to make for the line his disappointment was shared by the locals in the crowd as he was called back for an earlier knock on in the prior move with advantage still being played.

With the team now restored in number Monmouth heaped on the pressure and with the fourth quarter commenced, following a series of winning rucks and some swift close passing, Harding crashed over and Parsons again converted.

Pride roused Llanhilleth and following a firm drive upfield, eagerness overtook one of their forwards who was seen to be punching away for which he was dismissed for foul play. Hardly ever seen though, he then apologised to the victim and congratulated some other Monmouth players as made the long walk to the sideline.

Play became more hectic as the wind picked up further and play opened up letting in centre Smith for a nicely taken converted try and then substitute Cocker began to show his wares with a succession of bursts that repeatedly made much ground and once almost up to and over the line.

With the light now fading and the crowd beginning to doubt some refereeing decisions including a yellow card for Phillips, Monmouth went over only to be called back for a scrum. Wild overhead pass certainly but 'forward'?... Doubtful.

Not to be outdone, with a seemingly generous period of extra time and Llanhilleth at long last faltering, White and Thomas combined in some nippy play and sure inter-passing to dot the ball down as he was tackled to score Monmouth's fourth try, gaining a deserved bonus point and a 31-6 win.

Newport HSOB away are next week's challenge.

Tries: S.Oaten, J.Smith, S.Harding, D.White
Conv: S.Parsons (4)
Pen: S.Parsons

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