1XV v Caerphilly (home) 24 Sep 2016

21-26 Loss

The Better Team Loses

On a generally good day for Monmouth Rugby Club with a social occasion before and after two home games played in dry bright conditions, the first of which was won by the Druids, the 1st XV all but excelled themselves in a game that saw the lead change hands six times against visitors Caerphilly, providing good entertainment for the large number of spectators.

The start was disappointing - almost farcical - as from the kick off Caerphilly threatened the Monmouth goal-line obtaining a penalty under the posts for their troubles. The easy kick was badly missed, only for it to be retaken due to a hasty and illegal charge. The kicker made no mistakes with his second attempt. 0-3 down after two minutes was a challenge up to which the home team rose admirably with left wing Mobbs-Morgan finishing off a well put together move, dabbing the ball down in the left corner as he was bundled out of play.

The game see-sawed to and fro with opportunities to kick goals missed on quite a few occasions but the Monmouth pack was more than holding its own with the return to the fold of open-side Tom Rees working well together with his back row counterparts. If there was any weakness apparent at this stage it was the inability of Monmouth to cleanly control their own lines-out making the work of their scrum-half more difficult.

Defence was important and the home team was holding out well despite considerable pressure not helped by kicking away possession when turnovers were achieved and putting themselves under pressure again resulting in a change of lead when the visitors went 5-6 ahead with a penalty after fifteen minutes.

And then Monmouth showed their true worth with a fine and deep attack which involved good interpassing foiled only by Caerphilly failing to release in a tackle and gifting Parsons a penalty kick on the half hour to take a 8-6 lead.

But in defending the lead as half-time approached a double tackle snuffed out an attacking threat from Caerphilly but the second hit was adjudged high, costing Monmouth an interval lead and a player in the sin-bin.

8-9 was an immediate challenge and from a scrum forced near the visitor line, a penalty and a yellow card changed things again as Monmouth again took the lead with a 11-9 score but gaining at the same time passive scrums which negated one of Monmouth's strengths for ten minutes at least.

2nd row Seran was having the game of his life and seemed to be everywhere and hooker Phillips and his prop Swzagrzak also stood out, setting Caerphilly defenders back on their heels on many an occasion.

But it was flanker Gray who shone next when he burst through to score Monmouth's second try which Parsons converted to stretch the lead to 18-9 but with more than 30 minutes left a penalty for 18-12 in response made it clear there was still time for many incidents.

Mobbs Morgan was again involved in a touchdown in the extreme left hand corner but this time with the referee well away from play it was not allowed. Penalties were again missed and with Parsons having left the field injured, with hindsight it was around this time that Caerphilly began to grow in confidence again with White having to scamper back a long way to prevent a kick ahead being touched down.

Caerphilly were now putting phases together and four such in succession gained them 40 yards and despite some brave tackling, the pressure was rounded off with a winning line-put and a maul that brought Caerphilly back to a perilous 18-16. Monmouth struggled to withstand the pressure and the next penalty took the visitors ahead 18-19 before fly-half Emanuelli dropped a goal.

Monmouth to take the lead again 21-19.

Caerphilly responded well but when they squeezed to score in the left corner, many a home fan was left questioning why the referee had not seen the apparent dropping of the ball whilst in the act of scoring.

With minutes to go Monmouth came right back with a long kick followed by a threatening backs move but the ball went loose at a crucial moment.

It was rough justice that with Monmouth having dominated the scrummaging for much of the game, they were set on their heels at a strongly driven scrum and their palming back of the ball in desperation brought a further penalty in what was to be the final score.

A final flourish by the home backs although threatening, ended with a forward pass and the final whistle with just a losing bonus point for all their efforts when arguably they had been the more complete team and victory had been within their grasp.

Llanhilleth (away) offers the chance to redeem themselves next week.

Tries: K.Mobbs-Morgan, J.Gray
Conv: S.Parsons
Pen: S.Parsons (2)
DG: P.Emanuelli

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