1XV v Chepstow (home) 15 Oct 2016

13-30 Loss

Monmouth fightback not enough against Chepstow

Monmouth have been steadily improving in recent weeks and with the welcome debut of two recruits from New Zealand, hopes were high for the visit of Chepstow even though the visitors were riding much higher in the league.

But this soon looked misplaced when a failure to catch cleanly the kick off brought a charging run by a Chepstow forward which brushed aside some weak tackling for the first try of what was by the end to be four by the visitors,

Monmouth set about recovering and soon found some relief with a mammoth penalty goal from near 50 metres by centre Williams. Encouraged by this Monmouth made good ground up the right touch-line until tackled into touch.

Chepstow were looking the more powerful and better drilled though and from their next incursion into the home 22 they had the line at their mercy with a substantial overlap marred only by a knock on by a forward in the line but as a consolation they were called back for an earlier offence and kicked the goal for an 8-3 lead inside the first six minutes of the match.

The Monmouth line was spared again in the next attack by a further knock-on but the number of missed tackles on the strong running forwards looked quite worrying at this stage. They were less lucky defending a ruck soon after when another transgression cost them a further three points from a penalty which with the referee being assessed was to be one of many as he made sure he missed little.

Monmouth rallied and provoked a knock-on from the kick off as their chasing put Chepstow under pressure. From the scrum they mounted a prolonged attack but were getting nowhere despite considerable effort due to the sound defence. A drop at goal which missed, prefaced a penalty kick to touch and a further sustained attack ranging from one side of the field to another but eventually possession was turned over and Chepstow cleared to touch near the halfway line.

Nove, who positively sparkled at full back, nearly pulled things back with an exciting break but a last ditch ankle tap thwarted this particular move.

The Chepstow big guns came to the fore again and in the last ten minutes before half-time Monmouth succumbed to two driving mauls, one converted, for a 3-23 lead at the break.

Playing down the field is one of Monmouth's preferences and from the kick off they picked up a penalty goal for the start of their fight back. Chepstow were still the better drilled but strangely they were employing killing of the ball tactics whenever they could, allowing Monmouth to gain territory through penalty kicks and then when camped in the visitors’ left corner would have scored but for a knock on.

Chepstow's star forward led the charge back upfield leading to them in turn pressurising the line where a penalty brought Monmouth much needed relief only for Chepstow to respond through their fast and hard running pack who stretched the defence but a pass direct to touch brought much needed relief to the home team once again.

Fly half White was using his boot quite rightly seeking territory but a tendency to go for greater distance was causing him to slice some of them but then one deep one saw the catcher caught in possession on his 22m line. Sadly the eagerness of the chasers had made them overrun the kicker.

From the penalty back, Chepstow worked the ball right and but for a scything tackle by Monmouth's tight head prop they could well have scored. But Monmouth were now giving as good as they got and several prolonged attacks on Chepstow's line saw their right wing score and their centre convert to narrow the gap to 13-23 still with a quarter of an hour to redeem themselves.

Monmouth's team is a young and developing one and the way in which they now fought back bodes well for when the side becomes a little more settled. Confidence will grow more and forwards will drive harder and lower for the line when hesitation cost them dear on a least a couple of occasions.

Try as they might they eventually succumbed to a superb 8 man driving maul which was well structured and practised and virtually impossible to legally defend. Chepstow were elated as this secured their 4 try bonus point and the win and although Monmouth made one last surge for the line resulting in a knock on, it was time to shake hands and reflect upon how they an improve for their visit to Blackwood Stars next Saturday. The week after (29th) pitches them against Cwmcarn Utd. in a Cup match at home (k.o. 2.30p.m.)

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