1XV v Caldicot (home) 27 Feb 2016

7-36 Loss

A 6 Try Lesson for Monmouth

A cold clear day on a dry ground at last promised a running game at the Sports Ground but a converted try right at the start from Swalec League leaders, Caldicot turned out to be a bad omen indeed.

Admittedly Monmouth were caught cold when the visiting fill back ran on at pace from an early high kick fumbled back into his path but any one of three supporting players as his legs tired could have scored this first of 6 Caldicot tries earning them a deserved bonus point result.
Caldicot in winning notched up their ninth try scoring bonus point and one can see why. They have pace and structure behind served by a fairly large and aggressive set of forwards, whist Monmouth are still looking for the cohesion they need.

Individuals play well and they do not give up even in the face of adversity, but with the game on Saturday punctuated by the whistle of a referee who seemed to be obsessed by what he had seen from his betters on television the night before, albeit invariably technically correct, did little to allow the game to flow through the playing of advantage where possible. Monmouth, on the few occasions when they were looking like being able to raise a head of steam, were often called back to be awarded a penalty. Stretching their legs instead would have aided confidence, and even if it was doubtful they would have won, they might have at least shown a little more of what they can do allowing confidence to build for future games. Although currently mid-table, several teams have games in hand because of the large numbers of games postponed around the turn of the year and they do need to churn out a few wins at least.

Caldicot were 4 tries to the good just beyond the first quarter helped amongst other things by the award of a yellow card, some missed tackles and a scrum against the head, one from a forward drive but the other three from flowing moves by the visiting backs.

Whether they then eased up or no, Monmouth began to put in some deep attacking kicks by fly half Ricketts and one noticeable one from wing Roberts, which when they prevented the counter-attack gave them position to pressurise the Caldicot pack.

From one such position Monmouth took a quick penalty and hooker Sean Oaten bulldozed his way over for a converted try from far out.

To and fro went the territorial advantage but Caldicot defended well to restrict the score to 7-26 at the half-time break.

And then the decisions seemed to flow almost as if to prevent Monmouth gaining any foothold.

Their front row was penalised for starting to go up in the scrum as the ball cleared at the back for the scrum half to pass it out and having put that beside them in a movement around their thirty metre line a penalty resulted for ‘crossing’ when a more charitable official might have seen it as a close but forward pass to someone who had slightly over-run the passer.

The home forwards and particularly big hitting flanker Korb were still putting themselves about defensively but Caldicot pressure, and noticeably their substitutes continued to make inroads and Monmouth were lucky to survive a charge down of a clearing kick behind their goal-line which luckily flew dead, but paradoxically unlucky when Thomas, took a quick drop-out and was away and with support, only to be called back presumably because the referee was slow in seeing the actual kick out.
At least the scoring by the visitors was kept at bay for the first 30 minutes of this half but as legs tired, sharpness of thinking brought a try in the right corner as Caldicot capitalised on a quick penalty opportunity.

Again Monmouth were frustrated to have their driving back row man penalised for clearing out a ruck for which he was adjudged to have gone to ground when no-one could have stood up to the robust impact nor maintained one’s balance thereafter.

Caldicot were still comfortably in the ascendancy with ex Monmouth centre Adams enjoying using his weight and pace to dent the opposing defences. And crack once more it did following a good three-quarter move right for a final score in the corner and a 7-36 win.

All that was left for Monmouth was a near interception and a potential clear (if long) run in the centre of the field which brought a knock on and the end to a bad day at the office calling for a licking of wounds and greater commitment to training and the away game at Llanhilleth this coming Saturday.

Tries: S.Oaten
Conv: R.Ricketts

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