1XV v Oakdale (away) 18 Mar 2016

16-29 Loss

A sound beating or a near thing?

In a rearranged game under Oakdale’s lights, Monmouth used the slope and following wind to good effect in the first half.

In the first minutes a good follow up to a deep kick caught the home team in possession and from a turnover at the ensuing ruck the ball was spun left along the visitors' line. The Oakdale defence had rallied to close the gaps leaving fly-half Parsons no option but to open the scoring with a dropped goal.

The restart brought a speedy riposte with play taken into the Monmouth 22. A scrum led to a line-out from which an Oakdale player burst through to take the lead to 5-3.

From the further re-start, Oakdale won a line-out but an infringement brought first a scrum and then a penalty 35 metres out which Parsons converted to re-take the lead.

Play was fast and furious with Monmouth playing with much more purpose and vigour than earlier in the season. Oakdale are a younger side than in previous years matching Monmouth for vigour but a little better organised in defence and snappy in attack, hence earning them their current superior league position.

Monmouth were more than holding their own at this stage but Oakdale seemed unfazed by the pressure they faced as they scored yet another unconverted try from a quick penalty that caught the visitors napping. The upright intervened to prevent the conversion, thus keeping the lead to 10-6 and all this after only 15 minutes.

Monmouth fought back but were equally frustrated by the woodwork with a 50m penalty attempt followed by quite a bombardment of deep high kicks downfield, several of which were sadly over-cooked and led to scrums back in the Monmouth half.

Centre Dewi Lane eased matters again, with firm pitches appearing to enhance his elusive running abilities, when his interception of an Oakdale three-quarter move was completed through a 40m run in to regain the lead at 10-13. But the hosts’ response was to bounce back almost immediately with a nippy converted try of their own.

The final ten minutes of the half saw Monmouth battering away in Oakdale’s 22 but much of it was a bit laboured and predictable. Oakdale knew this was Monmouth’s last chance to use the elements and the slope and they dug in deep to ensure they contained the visitors to a 17-13 deficit at the break.

With both sides fairly evenly matched fitness and best use of the boot to gain territory were likely to be key in the second half. And so it transpired as Monmouth were repeatedly pinned back into their right hand corner. Oakdale were superior in the line-out which helped them barring when they threw short and when captain Sam Harding on several occasions was able to strongarm his opponent and steal the ball.

Monmouth defended whole-heartedly and their determination and fitness was holding out but the home team’s knowledge of their own pitch ultimately was to prove too big a hill to climb.

Oakdale were to use this territorial advantage to eventually draw ahead by two more tries. Their ultimate 29-16 win and a five try to one difference with all credit to Oakdale sells Monmouth considerably short because they often had the home team worried.

Some of the visitors’ energy and determination whilst commendable proved to be rather solo and uncoordinated but strive to achieve parity they did right until the end. Paradoxically the game ended deep in the Oakdale half at a line-out which went uncontested and allowed the ball to be kicked dead for the game to end.

Things are improving and the next test as to quite how much will be when Newport HSOB visit the Sports Ground this coming Saturday.

Try: D.Lane
Conv: S.Parsons
Pen: S.Parsons (2)
Drop Goal: S.Parsons

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