1XV v Chepstow (home) 18 Feb 2017
Monmouth miss opportunities
Chepstow 20 Monmouth 7
With an immense challenge of playing away against second in the league Chepstow with several of the squad having to support in spirit only due to injuries, Monmouth set about their task up the slope with a vigour and determination which initially took the hosts aback.
Chepstow's pack and their mauling soon became apparent and Monmouth did well to clear their lines when left wing Brosnan ripped the ball out for scrum half White to follow a deep kick, and although he was quick and threatening, a right side run may have seen him score untouched. Instead, when tackled, his pass to the supporting Nove was forward - a clear opportunity missed. A penalty for offside was then kicked against the upright and from the rebound and a further attack, a Chepstow hand deliberately knocked on earning the offender a yellow card. Instead of taking the points Monmouth chose a kick to touch but White was held up in the resulting maul and the chance was gone.
Not outdone, Monmouth soon gained the advantage again winning yet another line-out in style and the left wing again made 30 metres along the touch-line to hand on to Nove who had an excellent game and put the visitors first on the board after 15 minutes of play. Fly-half Parsons added the points from far out.
Monmouth's possession and territorial advantage were not generating the scores they perhaps deserved because of the very heavy penalty count against them. So much so that the visiting supporters were driven almost to distraction by what was to be a first half penalty count of 14-3 against, despite similar 'offences' by their opponents seeming to be treated more leniently. A knock-on for the second time from a re-start conceded the initiative to Chepstow who soon made a good break which was halted by a try saving tackle deep in the right corner. Monmouth seemed to have won a turnover but was penalised again resulting in another driving maul that this time Monmouth could not contain. The failed conversion maintained a 5-7 lead but in no time the whistle was to intervene again for a very debatable 'not rolling away' penalty allowing Chepstow to creep into an 8-7 lead.
Nove showed his mettle and twice led Monmouth back upfield. The first time his pass to the wing was not gathered and the second into the corner brought a line–out which was lost. Centre Smith was also on fire and was thwarted from crossing after a great run and clever interpassing with full back Goddard by a good last ditch tackle.
Both sides needed a break after a full-on first half but Chepstow came out the strongest putting several mauls together to gain another unconverted try.
Mega applause greeted a penalty award to Monmouth, and following another good line-out take and good passing, a penetrative grubber kick put the Visitors deep into home territory, followed by another move to the right where the wing almost made it to the line but for an enforced knock-on. Play was generally evenly contested with both teams trading breaks and deep kicks but gradually Chepstow through one substitute in particular was able to break tackles in mid-field on several damaging occasions thanks to his pace and bulk.
The pressure was now showing and try hard though individuals did, mistakes and fumbles became more apparent. Chepstow's trademark strength came into play again when despite being rebuffed twice near their line they were able to crash over at the start of the final quarter to stretch their lead to 20-7.Monmouth to their credit were not to be done and put in some stirring drives of their own; Parsons covered back well and White, when apparently surrounded near touch on his 22 engineered a remarkable escape at one stage.
They gave of their best and put the hosts under immense pressure whilst seeking a losing bonus point and right at the very end as Chepstow threw some hasty passes on their own goal-line Monmouth dived on a loose ball and would have scored near the posts but for a knock on. A thoroughly absorbing game in which Monmouth could have come much closer, and even won, if they had managed to take all their chances but it was not for want of trying, in fairness.
Published by Pete Walters, last edited Mon, 20/02/2017 - 6:20pm.