1XV v New Tredegar (away) 16 Apr 2016

27-35 Loss

Monmouth Miss Double

Having beaten New Tredegar at home only the previous week, spirits were high of achieving the double on the journey to the Rhymney Valley, but they were dampened by the misleading diversion signs at the Heads of the Valleys roadworks which saw the kick off having to be significantly delayed.

The home team set off with great vigour and were first on the score–board within minutes with a penalty into the very brisk wind.

Undaunted the visitors drove up-field from the restart and when tackled into touch 18m out won an equalising penalty at a ruck following the line out.

With a strong downfield wind behind them Monmouth were able to keep the pressure on and fly-half Parsons broke the line at speed, moving the ball left with a miss pass which centre Smith gathered on his outstretched fingertips to score the first converted try of the game.

New Tredegar proved to be keener and more dominant as a pack throughout, using their strength to work their way back through a series of mauls completed by their tight-head prop choosing a good angle to gather a short pass and crashing over at pace. The wind defeated what in ordinary times what should have been an easy kick.

Despite the wind-aided territorial position, missed tackles and a scrum regularly being driven back in the set piece boded ill even at this early stage with only a knock on preventing the home team from going ahead.

Moving into the second quarter, Parsons used the wind superbly to clear the bar with feet to spare from 60 metres taking the lead to 8-13, but this was not to last as New Tredegar benefitted from a poorly aimed defensive pass to gain the lead 15-13.

Parsons was on form with his kicking though and dragged Monmouth back to the fore with another penalty, benefitting from the frequency with which New Tredegar offended at rucks.

Again the home team rallied and only a forward pass amidst some excellent inter-passing saw them called back from a 'score' under the posts. Their gander was well and truly aroused now as half-time approached. They drove a scrum back enough to win the ball against the head and then spread it wide, stretching the Monmouth defence beyond and taking the lead just before the break to 22-13.

With the elements now against them Monmouth needed sure handling but an early try opportunity went begging from a poor pass. New Tredegar began to exploit limp tackling but flanker Gleed fortunately was on hand to hold up an opponent in the the act of scoring.

His fellow back-rower was playing even better with noticeably strong runs but the necessary support was often lacking as others in the team 'ball watched' too often. Young scrum-half Davies was linking well with quick passes and with time will develop the confidence to put himself about more.

New Tredegar doggedly defended, often illegally at this stage, allowing Parsons to claw the lead back through penalties to 22-19 but at the start of the final quarter the home team re-doubled their efforts and from a line-out and maul deep in Monmouth territory crept ahead 29-19 with a well taken conversion.

They attacked again and Monmouth backs defending too eagerly, gave away an easy three points for off-side but although Phillips had brought on some necessary fresh legs and inspiration, the scrum was still suffering badly, made worse by the loss of captain Harding and unable to obtain quick ball at the breakdown.

The referee at last rectified this last weakness belatedly awarding a yellow card for repeated killing of the ball at rucks. Monmouth took advantage of the dislocation in the opposition ranks and from a quick penalty and pass to the right, Korb was to the fore again scoring near the corner but too far out for Parsons to add the extras as he pulled the ball left into the wind.

New Tredegar had no intention of losing though and nailed another kick with time running out whilst Monmouth was on the attack. A tactical kick to the left corner if picked up could have at least gained a losing bonus point but those following up missed the opportunity and the game gave New Tredegar the 35-27 win they had earned.

Is it too much to hope that Monmouth can redress this whilst away at Abercarn at 6.30p.m. on Wednesday 27 April? One hopes not, even if only to begin to build confidence for next season.

Tries: J.Smith, W.Korb
Conv: S.Parsons
Pen: S.Parsons (5)

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