1XV v Gwernyfed (away) 17 Sep 2016

16-5 Win

Cup Win for Monmouth

In the first round proper of the National Bowl tournament, Monmouth travelled away to Gwernyfed last Saturday on yet another sunny if windy September day - a day made a little more grand by the presence of Rick O'Shea and his Scrum Five Camera.

With the 2nd XVs also playing on the adjacent pitch the atmosphere was welcoming and loud. And the matches did not let the game down as The Druids stuck at it throughout despite having no substitutes and ending up with just 13 players on the pitch eventually losing 17-10. A great result considering the odds.

The 1st XV game was contested just as fiercely, although neither side put many concerted moves together, relying more on kicking out of hand to put pressure on their opponents. This played to the home team's advantage in the first half as their lines-out were the more certain and therefore a tactic worth pursuing. So much so that within 12 minutes of the start they had driven over the visitors' line through a maul to open the scoring. The cross wind hampered the conversion as it was to limit the successes from the tee for both sides.

Occasional forays by Gwernyfed made deep progress through their speedy right wing but defences were upmost.

The visitors eventually found their composure, helped by the steadying influence and good tactical kicking of the new fly-half Emanuelli, but a good move along the line to the right inside their opponent's 22 foundered thanks to a prop including himself in the move. A penalty soon followed but despite a succession of rucks near the home line, the ball was eventually knocked on and the danger cleared with a tremendous kick upfield.

Play went from end to end and just before a welcome break was whistled Monmouth did well in tackling a marauder into touch when a try looked near certain.

Refreshed, Monmouth set about their task with more purpose and vigour and within three minutes of the start, full back Parsons had narrowed the score to 5-3 with a 25m penalty for going off feet at a ruck.

Monmouth's driving play was now better and with White at his nippiest best behind them at the rucks, Gwernyfed were on the back foot much more than in the first half with only an intercepted pass near their line saving them from going behind in the scoring.

The visiting pack were now giving of their best and despite fatigue creeping into both sides, as play continued individuals found the spasmodic energy to punch holes in the defences ranged before them. With the pressure beginning to tell on Gwernyfed they were punished by another Parsons' penalty for straying offside although he was to miss with another soon after.

Emanuelli was next to take advantage of the improved territorial position with a neatly taken dropped goal to stretch the lead to 5-9.

Monmouth now had the bit between their teeth but in their eagerness to score, a move petered out into touch with wild passing along the line. Over the line on another occasion they lost the ball with a 70m clearance kick down the slope the outcome.

In working their way back White tried twice in succession to chip over the near defence only for it to be charged down each time but the eagerness was infectious, providing energy in tiring legs.

Parsons again failed with a kick at goal but White was soon up again, harassing a defender and charging down a clearing kick only to knock on as he struggled to touch down.

The final whistle was now near and finding themselves at a 22m line-out it was replacement Leighton Phillips who came away using his unerring ability to duck beneath tackles to set up another ruck from which White tore away in an arcing run to put the game beyond Gwernyfed's reach. Parsons redeemed himself with the boot adding the extra two points for a final result of 5-16 to the visitors.

Whilst awaiting the draw for the next round, Monmouth will be pleased with this improving performance and busily preparing for the visit of Caerphilly in the League this coming Saturday with a 2.30pm kick off at the Sports Ground.

Tries: D.White
Conv: S.Parsons
Pen: S.Parsons (2)
DG: P.Emanuelli

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