1XV v RTB Ebbw Vale (home) 16 Jan 2016

19-12 Win

Much needed win for Monmouth

Rugby returned to the Sports Ground last Saturday after a long interlude due to weather and holidays. Training sessions in the meantime had minimised any potential ring rustiness with Monmouth having a good first half, even though the scrum was not as dominant as it had been in the away game in the Autumn.

The rapidly growing grass did little after a while to mask the greasiness underfoot, but several lengthy three-quarter moves were to make deep inroads uphill in the early stages, only for some late handling errors or wrong options preventing a potential score.

Eagerness to defend by both sides brought penalties for offside, holding on, failing to roll away or going off one's feet in the tackle and despite a few mis-kicks, the score gradually edged upwards despite missed opportunities to score through the hands,

Monmouth had led 6-0 inside ten minutes, with RTB clawing their way back to tie things not long before half-time as Monmouth began to ease off a little. An extra surge by Monmouth got them near the visitor's line when fly half Parsons edged Monmouth 9-6 ahead with a snap dropped goal which crawled over the bar from 22 or so metres in the centre of the field just before half-time.

Monmouth commenced the second half well, finding themselves in the first few minutes near the RTB left hand corner but a couple of weak tackles in succession helped their escape to a scrum 55m upfield.

At this stage RTB seemed keener and more focussed and when Monmouth were forced backwards, a defender stepped offside at a ruck, allowing the visiting fly-half to level the scores 9-9.

From the re-start Monmouth advanced to 15 metres from the RTB line but the concession of a penalty saw them driven back through a long kick to touch and then a driven maul, the deliberate collapsing of which, brought a further chance for goal which this time failed, much to the relief of the good crowd who had obviously been missing their Saturdays out, too.

RTB continued to pressurise and as Monmouth appeared to slide back both mentally and literally, the referee reversed a penalty for back-chat and the pressure on the home team increased as the relatively easy kick took the lead to 9-12.

Increasingly Monmouth was kicking deep for the right corner and following a good attacking move through many pairs of hands, scrum-half Dan White, having his usual eager, if sometimes mis-directed, game got very close. The RTB defence was resolute as Monmouth drove hard again and again for the line, until No.8 Nick Phillips could be deprived no longer, crashing over with 5 minutes of normal time to play. Parsons was not to be out done with the easy conversion and the 16-12 lead brought the breathing space the homesters had latterly been striving for.

In their eagerness to regain the lead, RTB soon saw their chances reduced when one of their number was sent from the field for illegal use of the boot. Monmouth again kicked deep as the game went into overtime and good following up caught RTB in possession as they tried to run out of trouble. Parsons calmly converted the penalty conceded for the last act of the game and a 19-12 victory.

The only game currently arranged at home this coming Saturday is the Youth playing RTB Ebbw Vale while the Druids are away at Chepstow. In the hope the 1st XV may be able to rearrange one of their postponed games, do ring 712309 or access the Club web-site to check.

Tries: N.Phillips
Conv: S.Parsons
Pen: S.Parsons (3)
Drop Goal: S.Parsons

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