1XV v Tredegar (home) 07 Nov 2015

Monmouth Try Fest

Nineteen tries to nil might sound like something special but the one-sided game against once proud Tredegar brought credit to the visitors for honouring the fixture with a bare 15 players and to the Monmouth team for taking most of the opportunities that came their way.

Tredegar, who once played amongst the very best in the Anglo Welsh merit table have fallen upon hard times and are in a lengthy re-building process with their young players.

Scrums were passive from the start, and the very narrow defence the visitors employed gave the home team ample room to stretch defences wide which they exploited.

Despite heavy pre-match rain, the weather perked up and, apart for some greasiness of surface and hands, made for speedy three-quarter moves and, later on, opportunities to jink and swerve past tiring opponents even though personal pride saw them stick to their task.

Sam Parsons made much of the space afforded him in a new role at fly half to spark good moves and his kicking brought him 14 conversions on top of a classy try as well as hitting the upright twice.

Scrum halves White and Cocker sparked many a move too, as well as to complete several attacks when they changed positions onto the wing.

Winning many of the lines-out, and even a scrum against the head even though they were passive, the forwards had more energy than usual about the field and in clearing out the rucks there were several good examples of carrying the ball well with Harding, Shirlaw and even Bartlett shining.

In the very first minute, from one of the many penalties awarded during the game as Tredegar tried to slow down the ball, the ball spun left along the line, was kicked through up-field and when recycled through a ruck went further left for Mobbs-Morgan to open the scoring 5-0.

Another Monmouth penalty brought a touch from which Harding burst out and all the way to the line leaving tacklers littering his wake. This second conversion failed and lifted Tredegar a little but an over eager long kick handed the ball over again from it being kicked dead.

Tom Hawkins was next to cross over for a converted try but several further attempts on the left saw white line fever preventing a score as Tredegar drifted across to snuff out moves. Still inside the first quarter the Tredegar hooker tried to hamper a clear out at a ruck and for his back-chat to the referee he found himself sitting out the next ten minutes, which deficiency brought a succession of 4 tries, from Phillips, Korb, Lane and Green, two of which were converted and another post hit.

41-0 after 25 minutes and the hill by now looked mountainous made worse within five minutes when Monmouth took a quick penalty which centre Dewi Lane completed using both guile and girth to make it over the line.

Captain Harding nearly gained his second with a strong drive to the line next but ended up losing control of the ball over it.

With half -time fast approaching, a long kick off was fielded and run back by the energetic Cocker and neatly transferred left to White who needed no encouragement to scamper in for a 53-0 half-time score-line.

The new half brought little encouragement for the visitors as a fumbled catch from the kick-off led immediately to Callum Gleed scoring in the corner. Parson's kick was again excellent.

Tredegar's kick off in return was fumbled and this temporary lapse in concentration briefly gave Tredegar hope but once the pressure was restored to near their line, their fire dissipated.

Play however had now loosened up with the next move to the far left ending in an overhead pass to the (resting?) hooker Bartlett on the wing who succeeded in knocking on the ball.

But substitute Thomas restored composure and a flowing move out to his right wing with the, by now, inevitable Parsons' conversion and Tredegar's resilience was further tested with a yellow card for attempted fisticuffs and then back-chat born out of frustration but the penalty and his absence cost his side dearly with three further converted tries scored in his absence courtesy of Bartlett, White and Shirlaw.

A slick pass from Mitch Gleed allowed Thomas to kick deep to the right corner where Harding following up cut inside for another converted score near the posts with Parsons soon claiming one himself following silky passing in the move.

The forwards now wanted their share of the action, but it was wing Thomas who capitalised on a forward drive and then Shirlaw made an excellent run beating several defenders to set up the ball. When recycled near the corner it was M Gleed who claimed the final try in the 123-0 result.

Llanhilleth at home next Saturday should prove more testing.

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