1XV v New Tredegar (home) 09 Apr 2016

27-10 Win

A winning second half for Monmouth

Given a minute’s silence before the start in memory of the late Mark Ricketts, a stalwart supporter of Monmouth for many a year, it was not surprising that the home team started slowly, but not surprising either that it was his son, Rhys, who had to be relied upon to save an early score with a trade-mark devastating tackle.

New Tredegar were the visitors and their young-ish enthusiasm in the first half tended to make Monmouth work hard in defence with prop Green noticeably pulling off some good tackles.

Monmouth had their chances but too often, as in previous games, wrong options were taken doing little to enhance their prospects.

Overlaps were created but too often individuals sought their own moment of glory rather than use the support of another. To avoid trying to cut inside rather than drawing a man and feeding the overlap outside might have bought earlier results. But then it has always been an easier game to play from those watching from the touch-line.

The blustery wind and cold showers did little for goal kicking accuracy nor did it aid three-quarter Reed who intercepted neatly around his own 10 metre line but was fairly easily caught some 40 metres later as his former pace into the wind deserted him.

Soon after, with a missed kick-able penalty apiece, Monmouth ran the ball very deep into the top left hand corner only to find themselves turned over and soon thereafter to also be driven back in a scrum despite having won a ball against the head earlier.

Panic stations were apparent when New Tredegar stole a Monmouth line but fortunately they kicked possession away and dead on this occasion.

From the ball back, Monmouth gained a penalty kick to touch but the proximity of the line and a glaring overlap brought only a pass direct to touch instead of an opening score.

The visitors responded by camping in the left hand corner and apart from one occasion when they were queueing up to score, only to fumble the ball, but when awarded a penalty they took the scrum and drove over for an unconverted try just before the half-time break.

With the wind at their backs playing down the slope as is their preference and with some judicious substitutions, Monmouth seemed a different side putting the visitors under pressure from the off.

Injudicious handling in a ruck saw Monmouth kick a goal although given where it was one wondered if a yellow card might not also have been appropriate.

A move along the line in their own half with a lick ahead wrong-footed the defence and centre Smith was up to dab the ball down for a try which Ricketts converted.

The visitors were now under the cosh as font-rower Bartlett drove for the line and when stopped, scrum half Davies was on hand to find the gap to take the lead to 15-5 by the end of the third quarter.

Monmouth were rampant at this stage with quicker ball helping and bringing a move which involved all the three-quarters across and to the left and finally with a miss pass to wing Bezani, the score advancing to 20-5.

This stirred New Tredegar, who rallied forcing Monmouth to defend again and again on their own line but the enthusiasm of the visitors this time saved the day as with an overlap and an almost certain score ahead the fired the ball straight into touch.
M
onmouth made it hard for themselves at this stage earning themselves a temporary reduction in numbers for over vigorous play but their defence continued to hold firm.

With the full quota of players restored Ricketts brought down an opposition centre, Monmouth turned over the ball and Smith was again on hand to score a converted try.
With the game won and a bonus point in the bag, eyes were taken off the ball a little and New Tredegar gained some consolation with a scrambled try from a very loose maul in the top right hand corner.

This much improved performance compared with last week might just set Monmouth up for a determined run-in to the end of the season now just over the horizon but first they will need to do it all over again as they travel to New Tredegar to play them once more next week!

Tries: J.Smith (2), Davies, J.Bezani
Conv: R.Ricketts (2)
Pen: R.Ricketts

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